British Airbnb hosts rejects Israeli for ‘occupying someone else’s land’

British Airbnb hosts rejects Israeli for ‘occupying someone else’s land’


Note: The following piece was originally published in The Jewish Chronicle on 12 February 2016.

A British man refused to give an Airbnb room to an Israeli, telling him: “The day you stop occupying someone’s land, I might be able to consider hosting you.”

Ben Kelmer, a photographer from Tel Aviv, had reserved a room in a flat near Marble Arch for March but was refused by the flat’s owner, known on the site as Mario.

When Mr Kelmer emailed Mario with a question about transport ahead of his visit, Mario explained that he had denied the rental request.

“This is how the world pictures you: aggressive settlers occupying land, destroying houses. In a few words: not respecting basic human rights.

“On that basis, I just cannot even consider hosting you, even if you pay me millions.”


Mr Kelmer posted a complaint to Airbnb’s Facebook page, saying that he was “served healthy dose of Grade A, European bigotry and discrimination at its finest, poorly masked as so-called, socially-conscious political protest of the worst, most prejudiced kind, that is strictly reserved to Israelis.”

Airbnb responded that they “take cases like yours very seriously” and would “like to take a deeper look” into the situation.

Airbnb has been in the news recently for the controversy surrounding its listings in the West Bank.


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