By Ori Lewis
JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Lawyers launched a class action lawsuit in Israel on Thursday against Airbnb, accusing the company of “outrageous discrimination” and demanding monetary damages after it withdrew listings of Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
The San Francisco-based company said this week it was removing listings of around 200 homes in settlements after hearing criticism from people who “believe companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced”.
Through her attorneys, Ma’anit Rabinovich from the West Bank settlement of Kida, who offers guest room rentals, said the move “represents especially grave, offensive and outrageous discrimination”.
Rabinovich claimed 15,000 shekels ($2,573) in personal damages. The class action lawsuit would seek an as yet unspecified sum on behalf of others in the same situation, according to court papers presented at Jerusalem District Court.
“The company’s decision is in effect directed solely against Israeli citizens living in the settlements, the petitioner claims, and this is severe, especially outrageous discrimination,” Rabinovich’s lawyers said in a statement.