Airbnb exec. visits West Bank settlements even as company boycotts them

"It was very nice to hear from the Airbnb senior staff about their stance against BDS," the Shomron Regional Council said.

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December 18, 2018 18:37
1 minute read.
Settlement Regulation Law to save homes like in Modiin Illit in the West Bank, 2017

Settlement Regulation Law to save homes like in Modiin Illit in the West Bank, 2017. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

 
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Despite the recent boycott by Airbnb, its Head of Global Policy and Public Affairs Chris Lehane visited the Barkan Industrial Zone in the West Bank on Tuesday where a terrorist killed two Israelis two-and-a-half months ago.

According to the Shomron Regional Council, the vice president of Airbnb was very impressed with the factory and its portrayal of coexistence, 

"It was very nice to hear from the Airbnb senior staff about their stance against BDS," the Shomron Regional Council said.

The council also reported that they looked forward to continuing the discourse over Airbnb's controversial move to freeze operations in West Bank settlements.

Gal Hirsch, a brigadier general who commanded the 91st Division of Israel's Defense Forces and serves as the Chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute, posted a photo on his Twitter feed showing him and Lehane flying over the West Bank, in what Hirsch called an advocacy flight, aimed at Hasbara.

“We are here to meet with a variety of stakeholders, and as a result of our meetings have an even deeper understanding that this is an incredibly complex and emotional issue," a statement by the company said.

After concluding a meeting with Israel's Tourism Ministry on Monday afternoon, confusion ensued as to the outcome of the talks.


The ministry issued an announcement that Airbnb reversed its Boycott decision, a fact the company was quick to deny.
 
“The reports issued earlier today are inaccurate," Airbnb said.

Even though the company expressed its "unequivocal rejection of the BDS movement," it added that "we are developing the tools needed to implement our policy and that process includes continuing our dialogue with the Government of Israel and other stakeholders.”

On the same hand, Airbnb said it is committed "to develop its business in Israel, enabling more tourists from around the world to enjoy the wonders of the country and its people."

Hirsch wrote in his tweet that the tour was organized by the Israel Project, a non-partisan American educational organization dedicated to informing the media and public conversation about Israel and the Middle East.

Uri Bollag contributed to this report.

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