Florida ad campaign hits cable TV, social media: Hold Airbnb accountable

The campaign, run by the Emergency Committee for Israel, a national pro-Israel organization, includes a 30-second commercial slamming Airbnb.

By
March 6, 2019 10:50
2 minute read.
New commercial says, "Hold Airbnb accountable."

New commercial says, "Hold Airbnb accountable.". (photo credit: screenshot)

 
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A Florida ad campaign launched Tuesday condemning Airbnb for its recent decision to forbid Jewish, but not Arab, listings of vacation rental homes in the West Bank on its website.


The campaign, run by the Emergency Committee for Israel, a national pro-Israel organization, includes a 30-second commercial slamming Airbnb. 
“A disgraceful act of corporate antisemitism,” the commercial begins. “Airbnb caved to anti-Israel extremists and banned Jewish listings in the West Bank. Faith leaders are slamming Airbnb’s discriminatory actions. Senator [Marco] Rubio called them shameful. Governor [Ron] DeSantis is fighting for state sanctions.


“It is time for Florida to hold Airbnb accountable,” the ad concludes.

 


The campaign encourages Florida citizens to express support for the punitive measures DeSantis has announced against the company by calling their legislators.


“Airbnb is trying to cover up its pathetic capitulation to the antisemitic boycott movement by citing principles about refusing listings in disputed territories,” said Emergency Committee for Israel executive director Noah Pollak. “But Airbnb’s boycott doesn’t apply equally – it applies only to Jews. There should be consequences for discriminatory business practices. Governor DeSantis recognizes this, and we believe the Florida Legislature will, too.”


Other Florida lawmakers have joined DeSantis in condemning Airbnb’s policies, such as Rubio and State Representative Randy Fine.


“Airbnb has chosen to boycott Jewish listings in a portion of Israel and, under Florida law, companies that adopt boycotts of Israel get boycotted by the state of Florida,” Fine said.


The committee’s ad is running on cable outlets in Florida and on social media platforms throughout the state. 

In late January, the state of Florida sanctioned Airbnb and placed it on its list of scrutinized companies. Since then, the company has been undergoing a 90-day review period. During this time, Airbnb has to explain to the state of Florida that its policy “does not discriminate against the State of Israel or Jewish people,” said John Kuczwanski, a spokesperson for the state board of administrations.

He explained that according to Florida law, any company which engaged in Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment actions can be placed on that list. The state of Florida is prohibiting investing in publicly traded companies on that list, he said, adding the state can also not contract them for services.


But companies on the list can still engage in commercial activities in the state of Florida, he said.


Separately, he explained, state employees are already prohibited from using Airbnb.

Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this article.

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