(January 30, 2019 / JNS) Amnesty International on Tuesday released a study called “Destination: Occupation,” in which it urged tourism giants Airbnb, Booking.com, TripAdvisor and Expedia to erase Jewish listings, activities, attractions, and accommodations from their sites if they are located in Judea, Samaria or eastern Jerusalem.
“In doing business with settlements, all four companies are contributing to, and profiting from, the maintenance, development and expansion of illegal settlements, which amount to war crimes under international criminal law,” said Amnesty International.
Today, more than 800,000 Jews live in Judea, Samaria and eastern Jerusalem—approximately 12 percent of all Jews in Israel.
“To boost bookings, many listings in settlements boast of their proximity to areas of natural beauty in the occupied territories, such as the Dead Sea, nature reserves and the desert,” said the organization. “By listing and promoting these natural features and nature-based activities and attractions the digital companies are increasing the attractiveness of the listings, securing greater numbers of tourists and ultimately benefiting financially from the illegal exploitation of Palestinian natural resources.”
Israeli politicians expressed outrage over the recommendation, blasting Amnesty as an anti-Semitic organization. Leaders began investigations into banning it from Israel.
“The hypocritical Amnesty organization speaks in the name of human rights, and in effect promotes boycotts against Israeli citizens as part of the anti-Semitic boycott and delegitimization campaign,” said Minister of Internal Security and Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan.
“No force in the world will change the simple historical truth—the Land of Israel belongs to the Jewish people,” said Tourism Minister Yariv Levin. “We will fight this despicable anti-Semitic decision. No one can boycott Israel or parts of it.”
In November, Airbnb announced that it would delist the Jewish listings of Israelis who had listed 200 vacation rentals in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. The move sparked outrage over a policy critics said singled out and targeted Jews above other countries with dubious political situations, including other areas in the Middle East.
Three months later, Airbnb has recently delisted two contested autonomous areas in the republic of Georgia, South Ossetia and Abhkazia.
In 2017, Amnesty International launched a campaign to prevent businesses from operating in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria, and promoted a video encouraging viewers to “fight with Israeli army soldiers in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.”