Episode 16: Occupation vacation: Diala Shamas and Ziad Alwan on Palestine, settlements, and Airbnb

July 11, 2019


Nadia Ben-Youssef, Diala Shamas, Ziad Alwan

On the 16th episode of “The Activist Files,” Advocacy Director Nadia Ben-Youssef speaks to Staff Attorney Diala Shamas and client Ziad Alwan about our intervention into a case filed by Israeli settlers against Airbnb. In late 2018, following grassroots efforts by Palestinian rights activists, AirBnB announced its decision to remove rental listings in Israeli settlements in the West Bank. Just a few months later, following a lawsuit filed by Israeli settlers alleging that Airbnb’s de-listing of properties in illegally occupied territory amounted to racial discrimination, Airbnb caved to the settlers’ demands and re-listed the settlements, seeking to end the litigation. Soon after, Ziad and other Palestinian landowners, represented by Diala and other Center for Constitutional Rights attorneys, sought to intervene in the case and keep the lawsuit alive. Diala discusses the responsibility of corporations like Airbnb to respect human rights principles and international law, as well as the status of the case, now that AirBnb has decided to re-list properties in settlements. Ziad recounts his family’s history on and personal connection to the land and explains why he decided to intervene on behalf of other Palestinian landowners in the West Bank. Together, the two reflect on Nadia’s hopes that we are in the “swan song” of empire and are approaching a breakthrough in the movement for Palestinian rights. Listen to this month’s episode and learn more about our work to make Palestinian voices heard. 

Podcast Transcript PDF