Florida drops Airbnb from blacklist after settlements ban nixed

Governor Ron DeSantis announces removal of Airbnb from Florida state blacklist of companies boycotting Israel.

Marcy Oster, JTA,

Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer Nathan Blecharczyk
Airbnb co-founder and chief strategy officer Nathan Blecharczyk
REUTERS

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced that he would remove Airbnb from the state’s blacklist of companies that boycott Israel.

The state suspended the use of Airbnb for state-paid travel and had considered preventing its pension fund from investing in the firm when it goes public, reportedly by 2020, after it announced in November 2018 that it would remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb said at the time that it consulted with experts to learn about the historical disputes in the region to decide whether it should be doing business in “the occupied territories.”

DeSantis and his Cabinet in January voted to place the company on the list of scrutinized companies following a recommendation by the state Board of Administration.

The company announced in April that it would keep the listings in Israeli towns in Judea and Samaria and donate any profits from them to humanitarian groups. The decision appears to be part of settlements between Airbnb and two groups of American Jewish plaintiffs who had sued the company.

“As Governor, I have an obligation to oppose policies that unfairly target Israel. Once @Airbnb ended their discriminatory policy toward Israel, we decided to remove them from the @FloridaSBA Scrutinized Companies List,” DeSantis tweeted on Tuesday.

In a statement in April, Airbnb said that it does not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

“Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement,” the statement reads. “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.”




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