Florida governor orders 'boycott’ of Airbnb due to West Bank boycott

DeSantis claimed that the State of Florida will not be conducting business with any organization promoting discrimination led by the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

By ALON EINHORN
January 16, 2019 04:36
1 minute read.
U.S. President Donald Trump meets with new U.S. governor-elect Ron DeSantis of Florida

U.S. President Donald Trump meets with new U.S. governor-elect Ron DeSantis of Florida. (photo credit: REUTERS/JIM YOUNG)

 
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Florida’s Republican Governor Ron DeSantis ordered state officials to refrain from using Airbnb when conducting state business on Tuesday.

DeSantis's move came in reaction to a November decision by the popular temporary rentals website that it would no longer list rental properties in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb has listing in 191 countries.

The governor said that the state would not conduct business with any organization that promotes discrimination and antisemitism through the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS).

“We have a moral obligation to oppose the Airbnb policy,” DeSantis said. “It does target Jews specifically. I think that’s wrong.

“Airbnb claims it’s a company of inclusion, and yet this policy only affects Jews who have homes on the West Bank,” he continued. “It doesn’t appear to apply to anyone else on the face of the Earth.”

Shawn Evenhaim, chairman of the Israeli-American Coalition for Action, thanked DeSantis for his “strong leadership in opposing the bigotry and antisemitism of the BDS movement.”

Evenhaim said that the governor has positioned Florida as a leader, at a time when many states around the country have begun the process of evaluating Airbnb’s discriminatory new policy.

In Israel, Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan also praised the governor.

“This is an important decision that will strengthen the struggle against antisemitic boycott organizations,” Erdan said Wednesday. “We will continue to act in all possible ways to nullify the decision discriminating against citizens of the State of Israel and harming them economically because of their place of residence.”

Last week, Erdan warned that Israel may take legal action against Airbnb because of its current policy.

“So long as Airbnb does not rescind its policy of discriminating against the citizens of Israel, we will continue to promote steps against the company, both in the regulatory and legal spheres here in Israel and vis-a-vis our friends in the US and around the world,” Erdan said.

Airbnb has been growing in Israel as of late, specifically in Tel Aviv. Because of the increase of rentals, the municipality is considering raising municipal taxes for Airbnb properties.


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