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September 27, 2016 8:29 pm

Airbnb Swiftly Banishes Amsterdam-Based Host for Discriminating Against Israelis

avatar by Rachel Frommer

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An Airbnb office in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Wikipedia.

An Airbnb office in Toronto, Canada. Photo: Wikipedia.

Online vacation rental giant Airbnb acted quickly to ban a vendor after it came to light that she was refusing service to Israeli customers, The Algemeiner learned Tuesday.

The discriminatory email from a former Airbnb host to an Israeli customer. Photo: Screenshot.

The discriminatory email from a former Airbnb host to an Israeli customer. Photo: Screenshot.

The company said it removed the Amsterdam-based host named “Maria” from the website after she rejected a request by four Israeli tourists with the following explanation: “I support the BDS [Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions] movement and will therefore not accept guests of Israeli citizenship until there has been a significant change in the question of Palestine. So unless you are well documented activists who work for a peaceful solution to the problem (for whom I will be very happy to make an exception) you will have to look elsewhere.”

An Airbnb representative told The Algemeiner that, “Discrimination like this has no place on the Airbnb platform and our policies prohibit hosts from declining a guest because of who they are, where they come from, how they worship or whom they love,” adding that the company “acted to permanently ban this host from our community approximately two hours after we learned of this incident.”

Airbnb also reiterated its dedication to an updated anti-discrimination policy announced on September 8, which includes an “Airbnb Community Commitment” that all users will have to sign starting November 1. They told The Algemeiner that the statement affirms that, “We believe that no matter who you are, where you are from, or where you travel, you should be able to belong in the Airbnb community. By joining this community, you commit to treat all fellow members of this community, regardless of race, religion, national origin, disability, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation or age, with respect, and without judgment or bias.”

Israeli Raz Hadas originally posted the discriminatory email from Maria on his Facebook page, saying that “Four university students were simply looking to rent an apartment in Amsterdam, and this is the response we got.”

Hadas later told The Algemeiner that he was “saddened to see that people don’t understand events happening in Israel, and nevertheless they seek to hurt us [Israelis] in a racist manner.”

Former Airbnb host Maria could not be reached by The Algemeiner for comment.

 

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