As Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro reported last November, home rental company Airbnb recently instituted a facially anti-Semitic housing policy in discriminating against Israel and Israeli Jews living there.
As The Daily Wire reported, Airbnb made the following corporate determination: “We concluded that we should remove listings in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank that are at the core of the dispute between Israelis and Palestinians.” And Shapiro subsequently opined:
This is the sheerest form of corporate anti-Semitism in recent memory. Not only did Airbnb specifically target “Israeli settlements,” according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason Law, they’ve announced that they will only disallow listings in Israeli settlements when those listings are owned by Jews. In other words, if a Jew owns an apartment in East Jerusalem, that won’t be allowed for listing; if an Arab owns an apartment in the same neighborhood, it’s fine for listing.
This is absurd. As Dr. Michael Oren points out, Airbnb lists apartments in Turkish-occupied Cyprus, the Moroccan-occupied Sahara, Chinese-occupied Tibet and Russian-occupied Crimea. Not only that, but Airbnb allows listings in a wide variety of countries without any democratic rights and with wildly discriminatory policies.
Judea and Samaria are disputed territories, not “occupied” territories. Israel controls those territories thanks to repeated refusal by Arab states that repeatedly declared war on Israel to accept any peace deal.
The aforementioned Eugene Kontorovich similarly accused Airbnb of “anti-Israel hypocrisy” at The Wall Street Journal:
Under Airbnb’s policy, an American Jew with a rental property in the West Bank is barred from listing it for rent on the website. But an American Arab is welcome to list his home a few hundred meters away, even though the Palestinian law forbidding real-estate deals with Jews carries a maximum penalty of death. That openly racist policy doesn’t trigger Airbnb’s delisting policy. …
Airbnb lists homes in Moroccan-occupied Western Sahara, one of the world’s most brutal occupations. It lists vacation homes in northern Cyprus, which Turkey invaded, expelling almost all Greek Cypriots and expropriating their homes. Nor does Airbnb have a problem serving Kashmir, Tibet and other such places. Last week a Kohelet Policy Forum report revealed many major companies active in the West Bank also do business in occupied territories and with settler regimes around the world, without a word of criticism from the groups that pressured Airbnb.
In response to Airbnb’s corporate anti-Semitism, Texas, under the leadership of Gov. Greg Abbott — a longtime staunch friend of Israel’s — implemented a boycott of Airbnb for all state employees. As the Austin American-Statesman reported two weeks ago, “The Texas comptroller quietly this month named the online home rental giant among companies it says boycott Israel and thus will be boycotted back by Texas.”
Now, according to The Texas Tribune, some University of Texas-Austin faculty and students are feeling the ramifications of Texas’s decision. As the Tribune notes, the Texas comptroller’s listing — all but assuredly flowing downstream from Abbott’s pro-Israel leadership — triggers a 2017 state statute that prevents Texas state agencies from contracting with companies that boycott Israel:
UT-Austin employees, including professors and graduate students, received notice Tuesday that they can’t use state money to stay in Airbnbs. The message comes just weeks after Texas blacklisted Airbnb for its alleged boycotting of Israel after the company removed its listings in the West Bank. Airbnb says it does not boycott Israel.
“Any future reservations will need to be cancelled and reservations will need to be made with another lodging establishment,” said an email one UT department sent to students.
Airbnb was blacklisted because of a 2017 law, House Bill 89, which says state agencies cannot contract with companies that boycott Israel.
Actions, as it is once again shown, do indeed have consequences.