The decision of Airbnb to no longer advertise or engage with West Bank
settlements is extremely welcome in making it clear to those who live on stolen
land that their theft and destruction of Palestinian lands will never be
forgotten or accepted.
Historically Zionism has always created ‘facts on the ground’ and then
sought normalisation. We saw this with
Trump’s decision to recognise the whole of Jerusalem as part of Israel.
Watch the excellent video from Ha’aretz. Shades of Apartheid Israel!
tourism company did more this week to end the occupation than anything the
Zionist left has ever done. Airbnb is threatening to strike a
blow at the illegal livelihood of 200 settler families. Another
200 companies like Airbnb and the settlement project will begin to feel it in
the pocketbook, and then its participants will ask, together with other
Israelis, whether it’s worth it. There is no better news than this. Thanks and
blessings to this international accommodations network, which after inventing a
successful tourism enterprise, was courageous enough to take part in a just
political initiative. Airbnb explained that it doesn’t need to profit from land
from which people have been uprooted. Is there a more just statement than this?
not all it did. It also revealed to the world, unintentionally, the best of the
lies, the extortion, the demagoguery and the double standards of the settlers
and their supporters in the government. When they yell “Holocaust,” because of bed and breakfasts,
clearly they’ve run out of arguments. “Anti-Semitism,”
“selection,” “persecution” – this time for a fistful of dollars going to the
pockets of a handful of vacation profiteers on stolen land, trading in stolen
goods. This is what the dispossession project is: It begins with a divine
promise and ends with bed and breakfast. Jacuzzi on occupied land,
vacation across from a refugee camp, relax with a view of roadblocks and have a
glass of wine at an illegal outpost as the sun sets against the pastoral
backdrop of nighttime Israeli army abductions – could there be a more galling
the outcry: “Two years ago my wife Kalila and I established our bed and
breakfast, “Ruth’s House,” in Sde Boaz, right across from Bethlehem,” Kalila
Kelman’s husband told Israel Hayom in what could be read as a particularly
amusing parody. “This is a bed and breakfast we built with our own hands and is
intended just for couples, without children. Over the past two years people
have come to us from all over the world, to forget the daily craziness and get
connected to themselves. The bed and breakfast is a place of dialogue, conversation
between people and connection between human beings, of for and not against, and
this is what the boycott is trying to destroy,” he said.
File photo: Moshe Gordon sits outside his guest house advertised on the Airbnb international home-sharing site, in the Nofei Prat settlement in the West Bank, Jan. 17, 2016. Tsafrir Abayov,AP
back tears, our hearts break. Forget the daily craziness opposite imprisoned
Bethlehem. Get up at dawn and head for roadblock 300, to see the day laborers
crammed in like cattle – connections between people.
remind the boycotters, those ingrates, that they have pacemakers made in
Israel; that there are Palestinians who do their shopping at the main
intersection of the Etzion Bloc in the
West Bank, that boycotts for political reasons are not allowed. All the lying
propaganda, which exhorts a boycott of Iran and Hamas, but not the settlements.
Michael Oren, government minister and former Ambassador to the USA, engages in a bit of whataboutery. Oren is the fool who questioned whether the Tamimis were a ‘real’ family
spectacular show of obtuseness, the heads of the Yesha Council of settlements
called for a boycott of Airbnb. The Kelmans, who live in the apartheid entity
opposite the separation barrier, say that the boycott is racism. Locking up the
Aida refugee camp across from them – that’s humaneness. Boycotting those who
are the reason why the Aida refugee camp is a cage – that’s racism. The general
in the war against the boycott, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan,
revealed that this is a “political decision,” and the head of the Beit El local
council reminded us that “once again, selection is being perpetrated against Jews.”
A settlement that causes terrible suffering to their neighbors in Jalazone, one
of the most destitute refugee camps in the West Bank, dares to talk about
selection. There’s no limit, no boundary; when it comes to the settlements
there’s never any boundary.
Airbnb’s decision is
a source of schadenfreude vis a vis the settlers. Any non-violent strike
against them holds hope, because this is apparently the only way to end the
occupation. But the feeling is short-lived, because the propaganda machines are
sure to thwart the decision by various means, including the threat of boycott.
Let’s hope that Airbnb doesn’t backtrack. It might show the way for other
companies. Thanks to Airbnb, we’ve entered a new battleground: private vacation
sites, completely lacking in legitimacy, as the new banner of the settlement
project. Thank you, Airbnb, not only for the courage for which you’ll yet pay
the price – but also for moving the conflict from our right to the land to our
right to a bed and breakfast.