Chris Lehane, Airbnb’s head of global policy and public affairs, was given a helicopter tour over israel on Tuesday following the company’s decision to remove apartment rental listings from the occupied West Bank.
A pro-israel group that has called efforts to stop further West Bank settlements a “kind of ethnic cleansing” against Jews organized the tour.
According to Gal Hirsch, an Israel Defense Forces brigadier general and chairman of the Israeli Leadership Institute, the helicopter tour with Lehane was organized by the Israel Project, a US-based non-profit that has previously described attempts to stop illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank a “kind of ethnic cleansing” of Jews in a document detailing talking points to activists in the group.
Airbnb had listed 139 apartment rentals in the West Bank, which is illegally occupied by Israel according to international law. That’s according to a report by Human Rights Watch that was slated to be released one day ahead of the company’s announcement of its decision to remove the listings.
From the beginning, Airbnb announced its intention to keep Israeli listings in the rest of Israel, including in East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, which are also occupied illegally.