Airbnb stressed on Tuesday that it is opposed to the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.
The statement by the lodging website came after it announced that it will not remove listings in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria from its website, as part of a court settlement with American Jewish plaintiffs who had sued the company.
“Today, Airbnb is announcing that we have settled all lawsuits that were brought by hosts and potential hosts and guests who objected to a policy the company recently announced concerning listings in disputed areas,” said Airbnb.
“Under the settlement terms, Airbnb will not move forward with implementing the removal of listings in the West Bank from the platform. We understand the complexity of the issue that was addressed in our previous policy announcement, and we will continue to allow listings throughout all of the West Bank, but Airbnb will take no profits from this activity in the region,” the company added, noting that any profits generated for Airbnb by any host activity in Judea and Samaria “will be donated to non-profit organizations dedicated to humanitarian aid that serve people in different parts of the world.”
“Airbnb will also implement the same approach for listings in South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two other disputed areas where the company has previously announced that we would take action,” it said.
“Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement. Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform,” the statement stressed. “We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.”
Airbnb caused an uproar in November of 2018 when it decided to remove listings for about 200 homes in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.
In addition to the lawsuit by the group of Jewish Americans, several states took action against Airbnb following the move.
In Florida, Governor Ron DeSantis agreed to place Airbnb on the state’s scrutinized companies list which prohibits state investment in companies that boycott Israel.
Texas similarly prohibited investment in Airbnb, placing the company on the state comptroller’s “list of companies that boycott Israel pursuant to Chapter 808 of the Texas government code,” which prohibits investment in companies that boycott Israel.
In addition, an independent board in Illinois voted to notify Airbnb that it is violating state laws barring the economic boycott of Israel, making Illinois the first state to take firm action against the online lodging company.