Airbnb became the first American company on the state’s scrutinized companies list Tuesday.
Airbnb got on the list for its de-listing of Jewish owned homes in the West Bank. The Israeli Deputy General Consulate Guy Gilady, told the Governor and Cabinet the company’s policy is discriminatory.
“And my government will be taking action in protest of Airbnb’s discriminatory policies,” said Gilady.
Governor Ron Desantis offered a history lesson.
“They fought a war, coming right off World War II and the holocaust,” said DeSantis.
DeSantis argued even though Airbnb argues it is not part of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement (BDS), their actions automatically triggered Florida’s statute.
The company has 90 days to change its policy or face potential sanctions.
“What they have done is tied themselves in knots and you end up with a policy which really only negatively impacts one group of people in the world,” said DeSantis.
The statute prohibits the state’s massive pension fund from investing in Airbnb, but that’s of little consequence, since the company is privately held.
The bigger hammer is the Governor’s bully pulpit.
“It was a dumb policy,” said DeSantis. “I think they made a mistake, and sometimes you’ve got to look in the mirror, admit you made a mistake and move on.”
Airbnb had a representative at the meeting, but she did not speak.
In a statement relased later in the day the company said, “We unequivocally reject and oppose the BDS movement and are disappointed by today’s vote. There are over 20,000 Airbnb hosts in Israel who open their doors and showcase the best of Israeli hospitality to guests from around the world, which boosts local families, businesses and communities. Our community of hosts in Israel has already welcomed more than 1 million guests and we will continue to invest in Israel.”
The vacation home rental giant is the 65th company worldwide to be added to the state’s list of scrutinized companies.
DESANTIS FULL STATEMENT:
“Israel has had to face scrutiny like no other country in history has ever had to face. Airbnb made a conscious decision to discriminate against the Jewish people and as Governor I have an obligation to oppose policies that unfairly target the world’s only Jewish State and our greatest ally in the Middle East. Our action today solidifies the State of Florida’s resolve to stand with Israel and if Airbnb does not denounce their previous policy of discrimination we may be compelled to explore additional action.”