Gov. DeSantis acts against Airbnb over West Bank policy
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (CBS12) —
Airbnb hosts in Florida are now in jeopardy of losing business due to an ongoing fight between Gov. Ron DeSantis and the vacation rental giant.
On Tuesday, DeSantis and the State Cabinet voted to place Airbnb on the state’s list of scrutinized companies.
This comes just two months after Airbnb decided not to allow Israelis to list properties in Jewish communities in the West Bank.
DeSantis calls the policy discriminatory and demands the company reverse its policy.
The governor made it clear Airbnb needs to reverse its policy if it wants to keep making money in sunny Florida.
A statement that’s strongly supported by the local Jewish community.
“Airbnb’s policy is one of the most shocking things of our times,” said Leonid Feldman, the rabbi at Temple Beth-El in West Palm Beach.
He said he’s outraged to see Jewish people living in communities on the West Bank of Israel banned from renting their homes.
“Literally two kilometers from the Israeli town, there is an Arab house that is listed, but because you are a Jew and you live in this town, this will not be allowed,” Feldman said.
"We know that people will disagree with this decision and appreciate their perspective. This is a controversial issue. There are many strong views as it relates to lands that have been the subject of historic and intense disputes between the Israelis and Palestinians in the West Bank," Airbnb said in November.
Feldman believes the policy shows Airbnb is taking sides in the dispute over the West Bank.
In a statement to CBS12 News, Airbnb responded to Desantis and the State Cabinet’s decision to place Airbnb on the Florida list of scrutinized companies.
“We unequivocally reject and oppose the Boycott, Divestment and sanctions movement and are disappointed by today’s vote,” the company said.
Rabbi Feldman said local Airbnb hosts and visitors might soon feel the repercussions if the company does not reverse its policy.
“It’s going to clearly hurt Airbnb if people begin to rebel,” he said.
Airbnb has 90 days from Tuesday to respond to Florida’s Administration.