SAN FRANCISCO/JERUSALEM— Airbnb, the American home-renting company, said claims that it was suspending its settlement embargo were inaccurate.
The clarification came after Israeli Tourism Minister Yariv Levin announced Monday after meeting with a senior Airbnb delegation in Jerusalem that the company has decided not to implement the decision announced last month.
Following the meeting, evin’s office published a statement in Hebrew saying that Airbnb would not be implementing the settlement ban and that the company would maintain dialogue with the Israeli government.
However, after media outlets picked that statement up, Airbnb responded with a clarification in English, saying: “The reports issued earlier today are inaccurate. Airbnb expressed its unequivocal rejection of the BDS movement and communicated its commitment to develop its business in Israel, enabling more tourists from around the world to enjoy the wonders of the country and its people. We are here to meet with a variety of stakeholders and as a result of our meetings have an even deeper understanding that this is an incredibly complex and emotional issue. Airbnb communicated that we are developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders.”
“We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians,” Airbnb said in November.’’We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective.”
Israel responded with fury to Airbnb’s announcement last month, which cited the “occupied West Bank” in its rationale for banning settlement listings.
Following Airbnb’s announcement, the Israeli minister instructed his ministry to put together immediate measures to limit the company’s operations throughout the country, and to implement a special plan to encourage tourism and accommodation in vacation apartments in the West Bank.