Esther Riley, Fairfax
Thank you for publishing “Airbnb stumbles yet again, this time with West Bank settlements” (Mar. 10). By accepting whatever Airbnb charges for listings in Israeli settlements, Airbnb is giving an air of respectability to and profiting from Israel’s illegal settlement activity in the Palestinian territories. Occupation, Inc., a recent report by Human Rights Watch, says that any company doing business directly or indirectly with Israeli settlements should cease their activity, for these businesses supply jobs to settlers and taxes to the settlements municipal governments. Thus, culpability in Israel’s occupation extends not just to those companies who directly violate Palestinian human rights, such as Caterpillar, HP and Motorola, but also to those companies who help to make the settlements viable.
Ulfar Erlingsson, Palo Alto
The Middle East peace process is a complex issue, and it’s hard know what’s right, and what positions to take a clear stance on; in particular for gentiles like me with innumerable Jewish friends and colleagues. But among all the shades of gray, the settlement issue is pretty black and white: They are clearly illegal, exactly as author Thomas Lee stated (kudos to him). It is beyond the pale that Airbnb is helping to rent out illegal residences on forcefully acquired ground. The issue is of great relevance to San Francisco and your readers, especially because of the large role that the Airbnb company plays in the city. But it’s also of relevance to the general public, and balanced informative stories like yours are of great help.