News and Commentary

Jewish Groups Slam Leftist NGO Amnesty International Over Airbnb Boycott

As The Daily Wire reported earlier today, leftist NGO Amnesty International has recently been even more vicious than usual in its deep-rooted, virulent Israel-hatred. Specifically, Amnesty International has directed its intensive ire at travel services that list properties in what it tendentiously — and erroneously, as a matter of black-letter international law — refers to as “occupied Palestinian land” and “East Jerusalem.”

As The Tower reports, the Board of Deputies of a prominent Jewish leadership group has seen fit to fire back:

A statement from the Board of Deputies of British Jews and Jewish Leadership Council blasted the human rights organization for portraying “Jewish access to Judaism’s holiest site, the Western Wall as a reason to criticise Israel.”

The Amnesty campaign targets travel websites, including TripAdvisor and Airbnb, accusing them of encouraging “war crimes” by driving tourism to what it called “illegal settlements” and “occupied Palestinian land.”

The Board of Deputies statement noted that Amnesty had recently “left Jews out of its work on racism and refused to allow the Jewish Leadership Council to host an event at its offices.”

The Jewish Chronicle notes that the World Jewish Congress also said it was “disconcerted and disheartened” by Amnesty International’s recent spate of anti-Israel vitriol.

Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor, a research institute that describes itself as dedicated to “publish[ing] fact-based research and independent analysis about non-governmental organizations (NGOs), their funders, and other stakeholders, primarily in the context of the Arab-Israeli conflict,” blasted Amnesty International’s de facto economic warfare and historical whitewashing campaign as anti-Semitic:

Amnesty repeatedly diminishes Jewish connections to holy sites in the Old City of Jerusalem and in other areas of religious and historical importance to Jews. Amnesty accuses Israel of creating a “settlement tourism industry” to help “sustain and expand” communities beyond the 1949 Armistice line. Israel’s interest in Jewish archaeology is “to make the link between the modern State of Israel and its Jewish history explicit,” while “rewriting of history [which] has the effect of minimizing the Palestinian people’s own historic links to the region.”

In Amnesty’s antisemitic narrative, the Israeli government and others “use archaeology and tourism as cover for removing the Palestinian residents of Silwan and installing settlers,” and “the settlers in Hebron see tourism as one way of strengthening their position. For political and financial reasons, they want as many people as possible to visit them.” Similarly, online tourism websites that list such sites are portrayed as complicit in these same motives.

It is noteworthy that Amnesty International placed Airbnb squarely in its crosshairs — after all, Airbnb has recently found itself in hot water precisely due to its own discriminatory targeting of Jewish businesses in Judea and Samaria (i.e., the “West Bank”). As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro wrote at the time:

This is the sheerest form of corporate anti-Semitism in recent memory. Not only did AirBNB specifically target “Israeli settlements,” according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason Law, they’ve announced that they will only disallow listings in Israeli settlements when those listings are owned by Jews. In other words, if a Jew owns an apartment in East Jerusalem, that won’t be allowed for listing; if an Arab owns an apartment in the same neighborhood, it’s fine for listing.

It seems that even that anti-Semitic corporatism from Airbnb was insufficient for Amnesty International. According to the NGO, Airbnb allegedly did not go far enough by not also boycotting so-called “East Jerusalem.”