Israeli Ambassador thanks Florida Governor

Ambassador Ron Dermer says it's time to "boycott the boycotters" after Florida Governor Ron DeSantis threatens Airbnb with sanctions.

Elad Benari ,

Ron Dermer
Ron Dermer
Flash 90

Israel’s Ambassador to the US, Ron Dermer, on Thursday thanked Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for taking a stance against Airbnb, after DeSantis threatened the online lodging website with sanctions over its decision not to list accommodations in Judea and Samaria.

“Called @GovRonDeSantis to thank him for standing up to @Airbnb’s antisemitism. Hopefully other Governors will follow his lead. Time to boycott the boycotters,” tweeted Dermer.

DeSantis warned on Tuesday that Airbnb faces sanctions over its decision not to list properties in Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria.

The Republican Governor said that the policy is discriminatory and may violate a state law that prohibits Florida from doing business with companies that boycott Israel.

Airbnb caused an uproar in November of 2018 when it decided to remove listings for about 200 homes in Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria.

Subsequent reports indicated that Airbnb would not implement in practice its policy of boycotting Jewish properties in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb later released a statement in English in which it stated that those reports are inaccurate but also stressed that it rejects the anti-Israel Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement.

Airbnb denied Tuesday that it is anti-Semitic, or that it has discriminated against Jews.

Spokesman Ben Breit said Airbnb has “unequivocally rejected” BDS and remains “deeply committed” to thousands of hosts in the country.

“We have worked with the Florida State Board of Administration on this matter,” Breit said, according to The Tampa Bay Times. “We remain committed to the more than 45,000 Airbnb hosts in Florida who share their homes with over 4.5 million visitors, and we’ll continue to do all we can to support our community.”

Last month, an independent board in Illinois voted to notify Airbnb that it is violating state laws barring the economic boycott of Israel, making Illinois the first state to take firm action against the online lodging company.

In addition, a group of Jewish Americans sued Airbnb Inc. in a US federal court following its decision to boycott Israeli communities, accusing the company of religious discrimination.

A separate lawsuit challenging Airbnb’s policy was filed in a Jerusalem court on November 22.