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Jewish News You Should Know

Airbnb Announces Anti-Semitic West Bank Policy Justified by its First International Political Statement


Background
 
Home-rental company Airbnb announced it would remove properties in Israeli – primarily Jewish – communities of the West Bank. Last week’s announcement came alongside the company’s first international political statement, justifying its decision on the claim: “companies should not profit on lands where people have been displaced.”

Israeli settlements in the West Bank now join Iran, Syria, North Korea and Russian-occupied Crimea as the only locations where Airbnb’s services are unavailable – with one notable difference. In all other forbidden locations, Airbnb explains: “we are required to comply with international regulations that restrict the use of our site by residents of certain countries.” Despite affirming the legality of renting properties in Israeli neighborhoods of the West Bank, this is the only time Airbnb has credited its decision to a political motivation. The company also continues listing properties in other disputed areas where people have been displaced, such as Northern Cyprus, Tibet, Western Sahara and Kashmir.
 
Airbnb’s announcement preempted by one day a new report criticizing the company for its previous West Bank policy, as well as a forthcoming UN ‘blacklist’ report of firms operating in Israeli settlements. It also comes in response to years of documented pressure from a coalition of organizations advocating for BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanctions) campaigns against Israel. In a letter to Airbnb, the ADL stated: “Many of the founding goals of the BDS movement, including denying the Jewish people the universal right of self-determination – along with many of the strategies employed in BDS campaigns – are anti-Semitic.”  Some Jewish-American groups have called for a boycott of Airbnb over its double standard applied only to Israel.

Talking Points:

  1. Airbnb’s policy to boycott only Israeli apartment listings in the West Bank is unacceptable and demonstrates support for a movement whose goals are anti-Semitic. The ban applies a double standard exclusively to Israeli properties there – twice.

      • First, it removes the homes from its service, while allowing every
        other non-sanctioned territory containing displaced persons to
        remain.

      • Second, it treats rentals from Israelis differently than those from
        Palestinians – despite being in the same area.

    The Working Definition of Antisemitism – accepted by the U.S. Departments of Stateand Education, along with ten other countries, specifies how criticism of Israel that crosses the line into delegitimization, demonization or double standards may be a genuine expression of anti-Semitism.


     
  2. Public institutions, like state pension funds that are shareholders in Airbnb, should demand reversal of the company’s new blatantly biased policy. They should check their moral, ethical and legal requirements, as Airbnb’s anti-Semitic action may have violated multiple state and federal laws.

     
  3. Airbnb's discriminatory behavior demonstrates the necessity for Congress to pass the Israel Anti-Boycott Act. U.S. companies, already prohibited from participating in Arab League boycotts of Israel, also would be barred from engaging in UN or any other governmental bans.

The Focus Project develops and distributes weekly talking points on timely issues to help influencers and organizations in their efforts to combat antisemitism and de-legitimization of Israel. The objective is to enable the community to speak with more consistency and focus, so that its messaging has greater resonance and reach with the general public. 

We hope you will find this information useful in your writing and/or speaking, and we believe your feedback will be tremendously valuable. 

 

 

Our chaver, Rav Akiva Males, informs us of an issue that demands everyone's attention and action:

Have you noticed that there is a serious lack of readily available Kosher certified breads and buns in the local grocery stores? 

One of the largest bread producing corporations / distributors in the US is Bimbo Bakeries ( https://www.bimbobakeriesusa.com/brands ) -- see that link to understand just how many bread companies are under their umbrella. Based on innocent business decisions, they've chosen to move away from having many of their nationally distributed breads/buns certified as Kosher.

The most effective way to change this is for as many people as possible across the USA to reach out to Bimbo Bakeries and tell them how they have been negatively impacted by a lack of readily available Kosher breads/buns.  We need a groundswell of people to call/email Bimbo Bakeries in order for them to understand our concerns.

Please take a minute to call/email Bimbo Bakeries.

Here is the contact information for the consumer hotline at Bimbo Bakeries:

Phone: 1-800-984-0989

Here is a link to their consumer feedback email form

Please let Bimbo Bakeries know that you have been negatively impacted by a lack of readily available Kosher breads/buns -- and that you would be eager to purchase their products if they were Kosher certified.

Please share with your community.

See this article for more information on this:  https://www.koshertoday.com/consumer-backlash-at-arnolds-planned-removal-of-ou-kosher-certification/


Rabbinical Council of America | office@rabbis.org | 212-807-9000 | rabbis.org

 

Orthodox Jewish parents, like responsible parents across the United States, overwhelmingly vaccinate their children against measles, mumps, rubella, polio and the other childhood diseases for which inoculations are now almost miraculously commonplace. As in many communities, a small minority of parents chooses not to do so. The ongoing measles outbreak demonstrates how this could bear very serious consequences, not only for their own children but others’ too, especially those medically unable to be vaccinated. The Orthodox Union (OU) and the Rabbinical Council of America (RCA) strongly urge all parents to vaccinate their healthy children on the timetable recommended by their pediatrician.
 
Judaism places the highest value on preserving human life. It is well known that those facing even a potential life or death situation are instructed to set aside the Sabbath and other key tenets of halachic (Jewish law) observance until the emergency has passed. Prayers for good health and for the complete and perfect healing of the ill are an ages-old aspect of Jewish tradition. But prayers must go hand-in-hand with availing oneself of medical science, including vaccination.
 
There are halachic obligations to care for one’s own health as well as to take measures to prevent harm and illness to others, and Jewish law defers to the consensus of medical experts in determining and prescribing appropriate medical responses to illness and prevention. Therefore, the consensus of major poskim (halachic decisors) supports the vaccination of children to protect them from disease, to eradicate illness from the larger community through so-called herd immunity, and thus to protect others who may be vulnerable. While the health of children is an important consideration, everyone should consult with his or her religious, medical and legal advisors in determining what actions to take. Nothing in this statement should be construed to add to or detract from rights or obligations created by New York or other state and federal statutes and regulations.

 

Wed, December 12 2018 4 Tevet 5779