Israel

Illinois Board Concludes that Airbnb’s West Bank Ban Violates State’s Anti-Boycott Law

An independent board in Illinois ruled Wednesday that Airbnb’s ban on listing rentals of Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank violates state law, The Associated Press reported.

Airbnb, the online vacation marketplace, announced in November that it would change its policy regarding home listings in what it calls occupied territories, singling out the West Bank. The decision sparked fears of discrimination and was viewed as an endorsement of the anti-Semitic boycotts campaign against the Jewish State.

In response to the ban, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner, who called the decision “highly disturbing,” requested that his state’s Investment Policy Board opened an investigation into Airbnb’s policy. He vowed that Illinois “must not — and will not — remain silent when we detect discrimination of the sort being practiced by Airbnb.”

The board decision means the state could now ban investment in Airbnb, if it offers public stock.

JNS reported on Thursday that Airbnb is facing further backlash, after the town of Surfside, Florida, condemned the rental giant for violating an agreement with the town that prohibits discriminatory boycotts against Israel.

“Let’s make South Florida a shining light and beacon of truth, good and love prevailing over hatred, evil and hypocrisy throughout the world,” Vice Mayor Daniel Gielchinsky said, as he declared that the Surfside commission had unanimously passed a resolution against anti-Israel boycotts.

Since Airbnb announced the ban, several U.S. states and cities have said that they would investigate whether the company had broken state laws. Last month, the city of Beverly Hills unanimously passed a resolution calling the practice “discriminatory,” and called “upon all civilized people across the globe to boycott Airbnb until such time as they desist from these despicable anti-Semitic actions.”

Forbes reported that Miami is considering a similar resolution, and Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis stated that he would examine whether Airbnb violated laws barring U.S. companies from engaging in boycotts.

In addition, the rental company is facing multiple lawsuits over alleged discrimination, both in Israel and the U.S. A group of American Jews, who own or rent property affected by Airbnb’s new policy, filed a suit in federal court in Delaware, where Airbnb is incorporated, asserting that the company was “redlining” Jewish properties while allowing Muslims and Christian to rent there.

[Photo: Open Grid Scheduler / Grid Engine / WikiCommons ]