Airbnb suspends Oxford host who refused to allow an Israeli woman to stay

The host said the woman could not rent her property because she ‘cannot condone the war’


Airbnb have suspended a host who refused to allow an Israeli woman to stay in her Oxford property because of the war in Gaza.

Darya Maoz, a lecturer at Hadassah College in Jerusalem, had booked the property on the website in May only to receive a message from the landlady last week saying she could not accept the booking.

“Hello, I’m sorry, I didn’t realise you are coming from Israel,” the host had written to her. “Could you please book a different house? I will give you a full refund.”

Maoz, who posted the exchange on social media, had replied, “I can’t, no place left at all. It is illegal to do so. I don’t believe you are asking for that. Very insulted.”

However, the host had responded, “I’m sorry, but I cannot condone the war. I have my principals [sic], I am a Muslim. I can not allow that.”

When the World Zionist Organisation complained on Maoz’s behalf, an Airbnb representative quickly replied to say the company had stopped the host from taking more bookings.

“We take reports of discrimination very seriously and we have suspended this host account while our team investigates this issue. Airbnb enforces a strict non-discrimination policy,” the company told Maoz.

“We’re very sorry to hear about your experience and our team is also on standby to help you book a new place in Oxfordshire.”

Airbnb offered further support to the Israeli woman.

In a post on social media, Maoz, who is an academic, said the company found her “another house after many searches, on the same street, bigger and more expensive, and credited me for the difference. And of course I cancelled the house of the terrible hostess and a heavy stone plucked from my heart.”

Maoz also thanked her friends and acquaintances for their support. “People I don’t know that live in Oxford have literally offered me to come live!,” she wrote. “So thank you for the heartwarming support, which really encouraged me and made me understand that maybe outside there are haters, but there is so much love here.”

She also said that following the response from Airbnb, she had received an apology from the owner of the rental property who had asked her to find a new place to stay. “I apologise for such an extreme reaction,” the host wrote to her, “but it is a very emotional situation for me and I have been very affected by it, as I’m sure you and your family must have been too. I hope you all have a peaceful stay here and feel welcome.”

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