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

By Jessica Weinstein, February 12, 2016
Ben Kelmer (Photo: Facebook)

Ben Kelmer (Photo: Facebook)

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.”

kelmer_airbnb

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.”

In a statement to the JC Airbnb said: “Discrimination has no place on Airbnb and we have removed this host from our community. We are proud to have one of the most open, trusted, diverse and transparent communities in the world and investigate any claims we receive."

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

Last updated: 5:58pm, February 12 2016