An Airbnb event held over the weekend was stormed by a protestor demanding the company remove listing in illegal settlements in occupied Palestine.
Storming the stage where American actor Ashton Kutcher was speaking, Ariel Gold, a member of CODEPINK a women-led grassroots organisation supporting peace and human rights initiatives, held a sign reading: “Airbnb Out of Settlements”. Gold questioned the actor’s influence in forcing the company to leave Palestine.
She condemned the company’s illegal activity in Palestine and for allowing properties in illegal Jewish settlements to be listed on its site.
Properties in Efrat, Ma’ale Rehavam and Tekoa have been listed on Airbnb’s site as being inside Israel when in reality they were built on illegally occupied Palestinian land. The company has been criticised for such listings. The settlements contradict international law and are therefore not legally considered part of Israel.
Kutcher, who was speaking when Gold stormed the stage, has invested in the company since 2011, and has supported the company’s controversial advertising. He claimed the property listing was trying to “bring people together, according to People magazine.
Gold’s protest at the Airbnb Open 2016: A Festival of Hosting is part of growing pressure on the company to cancel its property listing in Jewish settlements; The Stolen Homes Coalition began a petition earlier this year after the company began listing over 300 properties.
“Airbnb’s anti-discrimination policy states that they prohibit listings that promote racism, discrimination, or harm to individuals or groups, and require all users to comply with local laws,” the petition states, “yet, listing vacation rentals in illegal settlements promotes structural discrimination, theft of Palestinians’ land and direct violations of international law.”
The petition has gained more than 150,000 signatures so far.