A report by Amnesty International calling on tourism-related websites to boycott Jewish heritage sites is due to be published on Tuesday night, the watchdog group NGO Monitor revealed Tuesday.
According to the NGO Monitor, the Amnesty report likely comes due to the record number of tourists who visited Israel last year, many of whom pass naturally through the Dead Sea, the Old City of Jerusalem, the Kotel and the City of David.
The report claims that tourism at these sites helps support “the occupation” and is an attempt to erase the Palestinians' historical ties to the area.
The campaign specifically calls for Airbnb, booking.com, Expedia and TripAdvisor to boycott these tourist sites, which are located in Judea and Samaria, Jerusalem and the Dead Sea, and also calls on countries where these websites operate to legislate laws restricting their activities vis-à-vis tourism sites to which Israel is trying to link itself historically.
According to the report, the three most visited sites by tourists in 2017 were in the Old City of Jerusalem: the Jewish Quarter, the Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. The Amnesty report fails to address the fact that these are the holiest sites for Judaism and Christianity, and stresses the fact that they are located in territory that was “occupied in the Six Day War” and present it as a problem that must be solved.
Tourism Minister Yariv Levin said in response, "No force in the world will change the simple historical truth - the Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel. We will fight this despicable anti-Semitic decision, and will not permit anyone to boycott Israel or parts of it. Tourism to Israel and Judea and Samaria is at an all-time high and this is the best answer to such shameful decisions."