These days, it's starting to seem like San Francisco-based Airbnb is courting controversy intentionally. This time around it's not for techsplaining to librarians how to do their jobs, though. Instead, the Associated Press reports, the company is being criticized for listing properties in illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank.
“This particular issue is complex," Airbnb said in an email reported by the Chronicle, "people have been debating this matter for 5,000 years, so a hospitality company from San Francisco isn't going to have all the answers but at the end of the day, we want to help open the world, not close it off.”
The Chron notes that regardless of your personal opinion on the matter, "under international law, the structures Airbnb is helping to rent do not belong there."
The AP spoke with one man listing his West Bank home, who didn't really seem to get what the fuss is about. "It is Israel," said Moshe Gordon (his place lists for $60). "I don't really understand the controversy here."
Obviously, not everyone agrees. Yesterday, a group of protesters delivered a petition with roughly 140,000 signatures to the company asking Airbnb to remove homes in the West Bank from its service. The deputy director of Oakland-based non-profit Jewish Voice for Peace, Stephanie Fox, summed up her organization's frustration with the company valued around $25 billion.
“Airbnb has to stop enabling Israeli violations of international law,” Fox told the Chronicle. “Whether Airbnb has a physical presence or not in the West Bank, they are still profiting off it. It’s absolutely dirty money.”