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The first lawsuit in the United States against Airbnb for dropping sites in Yehudah and Shomron from its listing was filed in Delaware under a federal statute that outlaws discrimination in housing sales and the rental market, The Jerusalem Post reported on Wednesday.
The plaintiffs, 12 Jewish Americans who own property, claim that the company is discriminating on the basis of religion and is seeking monetary compensation for losses due to Airbnb’s policy.
The group is represented by Shurat HaDin-Israel Law Center and New York attorney Robert J. Tolchin, Shurat Hadin director Nitsana Darshan-Leitner, and David Eagle from Wilmington, Delaware.
“Airbnb’s new discriminatory policy has made it the poster child for the racist BDS movement,” Darshan-Leitner said. “These Jewish American property owners were shocked by Airbnb’s blacklisting of their homes and intend to legally fight this new hateful policy. For centuries anti-Semites have sought to dictate where Jews can live, where they can travel, and what businesses they are permitted to engage in. Airbnb’s redlining policy is illegal and discriminates against these families based solely upon their religion.”
To put the matter in perspective, Tolchin said: “Imagine if Airbnb decided not to service Muslim homes in Oakland because they opposed growth of the Muslim community there. Nobody would tolerate that for a minute. Yet that is exactly what Airbnb’s policy is for Jews in the Judea and Samaria region. As a provider of a service to the public, Airbnb is not permitted to refuse to provide services to selected religious group to engineer who it thinks should be allowed to live where.”
In fact, no imagination is necessary. As the plaintiffs point out, the blacklisting targets only Jewish homeowners in Yehudah and Shomron, while permitting neighboring homes owned by Muslims and Christians to be listed and rented out on its platform.