Airbnb Under Fire For Allowing 'Illegal' Listings On Disputed Land Controlled By Israel
Airbnb recently came under fire at TechCrunch's Disrupt competition, where a protester from CodePink held up a banner that read "Airbnb hosts apartheid [emphasis omitted]." Airbnb has allowed users to list properties on land that Israel occupied and displaced Palestinians.
Critics have blasted the company on the disputed listings for two reasons, TechCrunch stated. Firstly, homeowners listing sites in the disputed territories are profiting from the politically disputed region. Secondly, there have been a lot of claims of homeowners refusing service to individuals with Arabic sounding names.
Another protester at the conference, Naomi Dann, said, "Our goal is to ensure the conference goers are aware that Airbnb lists homes in illegal settlements built on Palestinian land and that there is a group of human rights activists including Jewish Americans for Airbnb to withdraw from those settlements."
Airbnb, in a response with SF Chronicle in March, stated, "We care deeply about the feedback we receive from our community and we take these issues incredibly seriously," but this "issue is complex and has been debated for 5,000 years, so a hospitality company from San Francisco isn't going to have all the answers."
Expedia Inc (NASDAQ: EXPE) has the most to gain from these protests. The parent company for Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity and Hotwire.com recently said "Airbnb is no threat at all," as reported by MarketWatch.
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