Airbnb to face discrimination complaint in NY over blacklisting Jewish-owned homes in the West Bank
Airbnb is about to risk some severe consequences for its decision to bar rental listings for properties owned by Jews in the West Bank of Israel, thanks to robust anti-discrimination laws. If claims being pressed are upheld, it could be barred from doing business in New York State.
William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection has a long and excellent post on the legal jeopardy the company faces, and I recommend reading the entire thing. Here are a couple of excerpts:
Airbnb apparently singled out only Jewish-owned homes, and would continue to list homes in Arab communities in the West Bank.
Jews cannot live or own homes in those Arab communities in the West Bank because the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian terror groups consider it treason for an Arab to sell or rent to a Jew. So delisting homes in "settlements" is the functional equivalent of boycotting Jews living in the West Bank. ...
[N]ot only Israeli Jews are potentially harmed by Airbnb's actions. Law Professor Eugene Kontorovich has an Op-Ed in the Wall Street Journal that points that Airbnb's policies discriminate against Americans, Airbnb's Anti-Israel Hypocrisy
Under Airbnb's policy, an American Jew with a rental property in the West Bank is barred from listing it for rent on the website. But an American Arab is welcome to list his home a few hundred meters away, even though the Palestinian law forbidding real-estate deals with Jews carries a maximum penalty of death. That openly racist policy doesn't trigger Airbnb's delisting policy.
An Israeli company, Bibliotechnical Athenaeum, has filed an arbitration claim against Airbnb because the company requires arbitration in its rental agreements with landlords.
1. This is a claim for unlawful discrimination under the New York City and State Human Rights Law. In the alternative, Claimant seeks relief under the Unruh Civil Rights Act. As set forth in more detail below, Claimant seeks (1) monetary damages; (2) an injunction directing the Respondent to cease engaging in discriminatory conduct; and (3) pursuant to New York Executive Law Section 298-a(3), an order prohibiting Respondent from transacting any business in the State of New York.
Caving in to political correctness can be very expensive.