On Monday, incoming governor Ron DeSantis of Florida stated bluntly that if Airbnb does not rescind its recently-instituted policy of delisting listings from Israeli Jews in Judea and Samaria (the West Bank), he will work to make sure that Florida state officials are not permitted to use Airbnb for official travel.
The other issue that’s now coming to the forefront is this new policy by Airbnb to basically discriminate against Jews in the West Bank. They delisted all Jewish listings in the West Bank. They do not treat anybody else in the entire world like this; it’s only targeted in these Jewish communities. I think that that likely runs afoul of Florida’s BDS legislation; we’re reviewing that now. We’re also going to review how Florida interacts with Airbnb; I know that state workers are allowed to use Airbnbn for official travel. That is not going to be acceptable with me as governor, so I think Airbnb should reevaluate and reverse this policy. If they don’t do that, then it’s going to be rough sledding here in the state of Florida, and we’ll review our options of what we can do with that.
Last Monday, Airbnb announced its new openly-anti-Semitic policy, stating, “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. Our hope is that someday sooner rather than later, a framework is put in place where the entire global community is aligned so there will be a resolution to this historic conflict and a clear path forward for everybody to follow.”
As The Daily Wire reported, according to Professor Eugene Kontorovich of George Mason Law, Airbnb announced that they will only disallow listings in Israeli settlements when those listings are owned by Jews. For example, 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 would be fine for listing.
DeSantis’ record vis-à-vis Israel has been strong for decades; in October he bluntly stated, “BDS is nothing more than warmed-over anti-Semitism. I would never seek nor accept support political or otherwise from a group that supports a boycott of Israel.” He added that his wife had bottled water from the Sea of Galilee during her last trip to Israel to bring home for their daughter’s baptism, and that his first international trip as governor would be to Israel, concluding, “As soon as I take the oath of office, that very day, we’ll have the most pro-Israel governor in the country.”
In November 2017, one month before President Trump announced the United States was moving our embassy to Jerusalem, DeSantis launched a petition urging the Trump administration to make the move. He wrote, “It is time we move our Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s capital, Jerusalem! Congress voted in 1995 to move the embassy, but past Presidents blocked the move. President Trump has committed to move the embassy to its rightful place and we should support the relocation to Jerusalem as soon as possible!”