Illinois board finds Airbnb in breach of state law over settlements move

The state’s Investment Policy Boardgave Airbnb 90 days to respond before being officially added to Illinois’ prohibited investment list.

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December 13, 2018 22:22
1 minute read.
Illinois board finds Airbnb in breach of state law over settlements move

The US rental site Airbnb logo is displayed during the company's press conference in Tokyo on June 14, 2018. (photo credit: TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA / AFP)

 
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WASHINGTON – A government board in Illinois voted unanimously on Wednesday to notify Airbnb that it is in violation of a state law against boycotts of Israel, as similar bodies in other states examine the company’s recent policy moves in the West Bank.

The state’s Investment Policy Board– established by the 2015 law combating the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement– gave Airbnb 90 days to respond before being officially added to Illinois’ prohibited investment list.

Last month, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner (R) asked the board to investigate whether Airbnb’s decision to delist Jewish properties in West Bank territory violated state law, calling the company’s decision “abhorrent and discriminatory.”

Illinois was the first state to adopt a model of anti-BDS legislation that conditions state contracts on a company’s refusal to engage in boycotts of the Jewish state. That legislation has proven a model for other states, and since it passed in 2015, over 25 other states have followed suit.


“We find Airbnb’s decision highly disturbing and we are calling on the company to reverse its West Bank decision,” Rauner said. “We are also looking into ways that we can exert pressure on Airbnb to end its prejudicial policy against the Jewish State.”

Israeli officials have called on state and local leaders to respond to Airbnb’s controversial move, which the company says came after a careful, two-year review of their economic role in the settler enterprise and the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The San Francisco-based online hospitality marketplace is preparing for an IPO in mid-2019.

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