Air Bnb West Bank de-listing

November 21, 2018

EJA Chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin , wrote a letter today to the head of Global Policy at Airbnb on the issue of West Bank de-listing
Here you can read the latter that was sent:
Dear Mr Lehane,
Re: Air Bnb West Bank de-listing
One can currently rent many Air bnb properties in Gibraltar, Northern Cyprus, Western Sahara, Kashmir and even the Falkland island I’m told, should you be so inclined.

In a statement Monday, Airbnb announced 200 listings in the West Bank would be removed, after the company had concluded “they are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.
Your company said the decision to remove the listings came after “considerable time” was spent consulting experts on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Airbnb said that, as an industry leader, it “must consider the impact we have and act responsibly.”
Given that you still operate in many other countries whose territories are disputed, I feel I must ask what your position is towards the millions of disgruntled Spaniards, Western Saharans, Cypriots and the Argentinians? Do they not have an impact too on Air bnb? What about your responsibility to them?
I ask because as of this morning, as I type this, you can rent properties in all of these disputed territories places on Air bnb.
Dear Mr Lehane, I would ask you what marked Israel out for special treatment amongst all the places around the world where territory is disputed? As a ‘responsible’ company, it is incumbent to be consistent.
This consistency is clearly not in evidence here. It therefore strikes me that this decision is political. It is clear to everyone involved that the final status of the West Bank is to be subject of negotiations, just as other contentious places around the world.
What’s the difference between renting in Northern Cyprus, or Gibraltar and the West Bank? Looking at it in the cold light of day, clearly nothing. All of these places, as Gibraltar proved this week having waded in to the Brexit debate, pop up regularly on the radar, as arguments.
Any serious analysis of this decision shows it has nothing to do with a reasoned, impartial and balanced attempt at corporate social responsibility, as your company claims.
I believe this decision will damage the air bnb brand. Not only because it overlooks and ignores the millions of other air bnb users who would take issue with properties in other disputed territories, but because your own criteria for responsibility and impact are not uniformly applied, opening you to letters such this that accuse your company of partisan politics.
I would urge you Sir, as head of Global Policy to rescind this move forthwith.
Yours Faithfully,
Rabbi Menachem Margolin
Chairman

Additional Articles

President Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi

President Reuven Ruvi Rivlin hosted Abdallah Chatila, who purchased Hitler artifacts which will be held by Yad Vashem, at Beit HaNasi
President Reuven (Ruvi) Rivlin today hosted Abdallah Chatila, the Lebanese-born Swiss businessman who bought artifacts associated with Adolf Hitler that auctioned two weeks ago, which will be held by Yad Vashem. World Chairman of Keren Hayesod Sam Grundwerg and Chairman of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev also participated in the event.
The president thanked Mr Chatila for his important act and for the significant thought that stood behind it, saying “your donation is of great importance at this time, when people are trying to deny historical truth. These artifacts, which you are generously making available to Yad Vashem, will help convey the legacy of the Holocaust to the next generation who will not meet survivors.”
The president added, “what you did was seemingly so simple, but this act of grace shows the whole world how to fight the glorification of hatred and incitement against other people. It was a truly human act. I know you have been thanked many times, but it was important for me to say it loud and clear here at Beit HaNasi in Jerusalem – we appreciate it and thank you for it very much.”
Abdallah Chatila told the president “Mr President, it is a great honor to be here. When I read about the artifacts being for sale, I immediately thought I have to buy them and destroy them. Then I thought I have no right to decide what to do with the items, and am so glad they are now at Yad Vashem. I feel a shiver when I understand how important this is for the Jewish people, but I think there is a wider message for the whole world, that ‘never again’ is not a meaningless slogan. Through acts such as this, we can ensure that these things never happen again.”
EJA chairman, Rabbi Menachem Margolin said during the meeting that “In a cynical world, such a noble act of kindness, generosity and solidarity bowled him over”. "it is the first time in years" He continued " that someone is properly hearing our pain and is taking action because of it."
"Rabbi Margolin thanked Keren Hayesod for taking the action of Mr. Chatila and making sure this noble thing will become an educational message for the generations to come and documented in and kept by Yad VaShem in Jerusalem.
Chair of Yad Vashem Avner Shalev thanked the president for the meeting and Mr Chatila for his act, saying. “What you did as a spontaneous act ensures that these artifacts do not end up in the wrong hands. You stopped that, and brought them to the place where history is told and where the next generation is educated. Thank you very much.”
Sam Grundwerg, World Chairman of Keren Hayesod: "What you have done by this action is take a very dark chapter from Jewish history and the history of humanity, and shed light on it by andvancing tolerance and hope. You reminded humanity that there are good and decent people in the world who seek tolerance and justice".

‘How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?,’ asks Jewish leader after Greece rules to ban slaughter without stunning

Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack across Europe from the very institutions that have vowed to protect our communities, said European Jewish Association Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin following Greece’s Supreme Court’s ruling that ritual slaughter without stunning violates EU law, writes Yossi Lempkowicz.
The ruling is an immediate consequence of a ruling by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg last December that member countries may ban the practice of ritual slaughter in order to promote animal welfare, without infringing the rights of religious groups.
The December ruling said that the EU’s animal slaughter regulation “does not preclude member states from imposing an obligation to stun animals prior to killing which also applies in the case of slaughter prescribed by religious rites”, but encouraged member states to find a balance.
"It is now clear that a number of member states are zealously applying the former whilst ignoring the latter," said Rabbi Margolin in a reaction to the Greek decision.
The Brussels-based European Jewish Association represents hundreds of communities across the continent.
“We warned in December about the downstream consequences that the European Court of Justice ruling carried with it, and now we see the outcome. Jewish freedom of religion is under direct attack. It started in Belgium, moved to Poland and Cyprus and now it is Greece’s turn.
“These direct attacks are coming from many of the same governments and institutions who have sworn to protect their Jewish communities. What we are witnessing is rank hypocrisy," said the EJA leader.
He added: "When it comes to antisemitism, governments and institutions rightly stand behind us. But when our faith and practice is assailed left and right by laws, they are nowhere to be seen, nowhere to be found."
“What use is it to protect Jews while legislating fundamental pillars of our religion out of existence?,’’ he asked.
He said his group ‘’will urgently making representations to the highest levels of the Greek government to get direct answers to this simple but fundamental question: How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?’’
Under freedom of religion, which is protected by the European Union as a human right, EU legislation allows exemption on religious grounds for non-stunned slaughter provided that they take place in authorized slaughterhouses. Jewish kosher religious practice requires livestock to be conscious when their throats are slit.

‘How can there be Jews in Europe if you keep bringing in laws against us?,’ asks Jewish leader after Greece rules to ban slaughter without stunning

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA MERKEL VISITS YAD VASHEM

With a busy schedule ahead of her, Merkel is expected to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa

German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to visit Yad Vashem, the official memorial to the victims of the Holocaust, in Jerusalem on Thursday morning.
"Jews in Germany suffered from hatred and violence they had never known before," Merkel somberly noted at Yad Vashem. "Since then, Germany is always responsible for remembering this crime and for fighting violence, xenophobia and hatred in general."
Merkel was additionally given the honor of lighting the Eternal Flame and laying a wreath, part of a ceremony to commemorate those passed in the Holocaust, in the name of the German government.
Merkel landed in Israel on Wednesday evening, beginning a two-day visit to Israel. The government-to-government visit was delayed by a year and a half due to disagreements regarding Israel's settlement policies and approach to the Palestinians.
With a busy schedule ahead of her, Merkel is expected to visit the Israel Museum, visit President Reuven Rivlin and receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa.
The article was published on JPost

Tourists take selfies in front of Holocaust war memorial

What are they thinking? Tasteless tourists take sick selfies and BREAKDANCE at site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered in one day by Nazis in WWII Kaunas massacre

Tasteless tourists who post pictures of themselves breakdancing, doing handstands and even performing ballet at a holocaust memorial site where 10,000 Lithuanian Jews were murdered by the Nazis in one day are being shamed online.

The shocking images were taken in front of the mass murder memorial at Ninth Fort in Kaunas, where 9,200 children and their parents were slaughtered on October 29, 1941.

They show tourists grinning happily alongside hashtags such as #happy – apparently oblivious to the gravity of the massacre that took place behind them.

Now activist Richard Schofield has collected the photos, posted under the hashtag #Ninth Fort, to shame the tourists involved and to show that young people are not being educated on the horrors of the Second World War.

Holocaust memorial campaigner Simonas Dovidavicius, former leader of the Jewish community in Kaunas, told MailOnline he was sickened by the holocaust selfie trend: ‘This is terrible. It shows how society is not in with what‘s happened.

‘This place cannot be a place of enjoyment and relaxation. I‘ve seen people sitting in the killing fields and having picnics or listening to music. People who were killed there deserve respect and some honour.‘

Rabbi Menachem Margolin, General Director of the European Jewish Association, told MailOnline: ‘It is one thing to take simple pictures of the memorial for the sake of remembrance, yet completely another to joyously pose in front of the camera with the place of mass slaughter in the background.‘

The killings at Kaunus were the biggest single massacre of Lithuanian Jews during World War II.

The condemned were lined up at death site and shot dead before being buried in freshly dug trenches. In total 50,000 Jews were murdered at the site, as Ninth Forth became a Nazi killing station.

But to the horror of 52-year-old campaigner Mr Schofield that brutal history has been has been erased and ignored by tourists to the site posing for light-hearted selfies.

Smiling for the camera, visitors pose in front of the memorial where the victims‘ bodies lay, seemingly unaware of the mass murders that took place there 75 years ago. Some tourists have been pictured doing handstands, jumping on victims‘ graves and even performing ballet.

Mr Schofield was prompted to take action by pictures like one of two teenage girls gazing into their camera for a selfie with the hashtag #Winterwonderland.

In another on the website two male friends grinned in front of the monument with the hashtags #happy and #day.

Another shows a man clinging onto one of the monument stones alongside the hashtag #hangingout.

Perhaps most disturbingly, despite museum bosses trying to discourage it, most of those MailOnline spoke to, knew what happened there – and didn‘t feel they were being contemptuous of its past.

Julija struck a model pose in front of the monument. She said: ‘I knew we were taking pictures in a place where thousands of people were killed.

‘But I don‘t think it‘s bad to make memories of visiting this place by taking pictures.

She added: ‘It‘s more bad mannered to take wedding or birthday pictures there.

Sarune posted a photo of her laughing in front of the monument – and said: ‘Taking selfies and photos isn‘t disrespectful. The place itself is full of monuments that are really beautiful so I think that it is normal to take photos.‘

Their views were shared by Gabriele, who posted a photo of her doing ballet at Ninth Fort on Instagram. She said: ‘It‘s not ill-considered to take selfies there. it‘s more important that nobody vandalises the monument and keeps it clean.‘

Rytis, the tourist pictured hanging from the memorial, admitted: ‘It lacks respect, I think, but I don‘t care about it too much, because it‘s a monument.‘

The museum‘s director Jurate Zakaite told MailOnline: ‘We try to stop selfies being taken because we think it‘s disrespectful to those who died here.

‘It‘s very strange that they know the history but still do it. If we catch them we ask them to stop. It‘s forbidden to climb on the monument.‘

Mrs Zakaite gave permission for Lithuanian rapper Vaiper Despotin to record a music video at the site because the song was about the number of people who had died there.

But the museum boss immediately regretted it when the video featured a Yeti and a woman in tight black leather trousers.

Julia Mozer, spokeswoman for the CEJI A Jewish Contribution to an Inclusive Europe which is based in Belgium, slammed the visitors‘ activities, telling MailOnline: ‘Taking happy selfies in front of Holocaust memorial sites is disrespectful and hurtful. Education that develops an appreciation for the impact of the Holocaust is absolutely essential. Memorial sites should also be monitored to prevent such exploitation.‘

Mr Schofield said his campaign to raise awareness, which includes going into schools to educate children about the holocaust to raise awareness has been positive.

The project is ‘designed to begin breaking Lithuania‘s dominant Holocaust taboo and to encourage the next generation of the country‘s leaders and decision makers to start dealing with this difficult subject,‘ he said.

‘We‘re not here to shame these young people. We know they‘re mostly good kids like most kids are. The problem lies with the Lithuanian State, which continues to let its young people down by not teaching them the full story of the Holocaust. ‘

Mr Schofield, from Newhaven, East Sussex, has been living in Lithuania 16 years. He is the former editor of a travel guide for Central and Eastern Europe and stayed in Lithuania because he liked it there.

As a photographer with a keen interest in history he began documenting Jewish life and became aware of how little was being taught about the Holocaust in schools and how little people knew about it.

He set up the NGO International Centre for Litvak Photography in 2015, one of the projects of which is Fifty Schools, which according to his website aims at working with ‘50 secondary schools around the country as part of an ambitious educational project to publish a unique e-book about Lithuania‘s sadly forgotten Litvak history, heritage and culture.‘

 
The article was published on the Stock Daily Dish

Additional Communities
United Kingdom
Ukraine
Schweiz
Switzerland
Spain
Slovakia
Serbia
Russia
Romania
Portugal
Poland