The State of Texas has filed a formal complaint against Airbnb over its boycott of Jewish residences in Judea and Samaria. The move follows a decision in January by Florida to place the global vacation apartment rental company on a list of organizations under scrutiny.
Airbnb has 90 days to prove to Texas authorities that it is not boycotting Israel. Under Texas regulations, “the state governmental entity shall sell, redeem, divest, or withdraw all publicly traded securities of the company, except securities,” should the company be found guilty of boycotting Israel.
At issue is the Airbnb refusal to list Jewish-owned apartments located in Judea and Samaria. Airbnb allows listings by Arabs in the Palestinian-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria. The ban only applies to Israeli Jews in what Palestinians claim to be "illegal" settlements.
The State of Texas, however, holds that a boycott of Israeli settlers is the same as a boycott of Israel. “We welcome this decision very much and we hope that it will be emulated by other states and other countries in the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nahshon said.
In response, Airbnb stated, “We unequivocally reject and oppose the BDS movement and are disappointed by the (Texas) decision. 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. Our community of hosts in Israel has already welcomed more than 1 million guests and we will continue to invest in Israel,” it said.
By announcing a decision to remove listings on their site from Jewish settlements in Judea and Samaria, claiming that for Jews to live in these parts of their own homeland is at the core of the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, Airbnb has become a company endorsing antisemitism. Airbnb refuses to list apartments in what they call “disputed territories” when the homes are owned by Jews. Apartments listed in those same territories owned by Palestinians are fine. Airbnb’s policy is clearly not about disputed territories, but about Jews, making it by definition antisemitic. Though they say that they “oppose BDS,” Airbnb’s decision to stand against the right of Jewish people to settle their ancient and biblical homeland is a barefaced call to boycott Israel.
PHOTO: Inauguration of the highest observation deck in the West Bank at the Jewish settlement of Neve Daniel in 2013. (Gershon Elinson/FLASH90)