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Florida Gov. DeSantis Warns Airbnb: Stop Discriminating against Israelis or Lose FL Business

01-16-2019
Ron DeSantis
Ron DeSantis

JERUSALEM, Israel – Florida's Republican Governor Ron DeSantis sent a strong message to Airbnb Tuesday after the home-rental company announced in November that it will not allow Israelis to list properties in Jewish communities in the West Bank.

DeSantis said Florida will not tolerate boycotts, sanctions, and divestments against Israel while he is in office.

"As long as I'm Governor of Florida, BDS will be DOA. We have a moral obligation to oppose Airbnb's policy against Israel in the West Bank, and today I'm announcing we are suspending authorization for state employees to use Airbnb for reimbursable travel expenses," he tweeted Tuesday evening.

DeSantis also said Florida will take steps to protect Jewish Day Schools from violent anti-Semitic attacks.

"I'm also proud to announce our administration will be supporting a minimum of $2 million in recurring funding for security for Jewish Day school. Parents should not feel worried about sending their children to a specific school based on their faith," the governor said.

Lastly, DeSantis vowed to grow Florida's business relationship with Israel by visiting the Jewish State for his first international trade mission.

"I cannot wait to strengthen the already unwavering bond between Florida and Israel," the governor concluded.

Israel's Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan praised DeSantis on Wednesday for his decision to boycott Airbnb.

"This is an important decision that will strengthen the struggle against anti-Semitic boycott organizations," Erdan said on Wednesday. "We will continue to act in all possible ways to nullify the decision discriminating against citizens of the State of Israel, and harming them economically because of their place of residence."

Last week, Erdan warned Airbnb that Israel might take legal action against the company.

"So long as Airbnb does not rescind its policy of discriminating against the citizens of Israel, we will continue to promote steps against the company, both in the regulatory and legal spheres here in Israel and vis-a-vis our friends in the US and around the world," Erdan said.

Airbnb operates in 191 countries, in 81,000 cities. The company announced in November: "When we applied our decision-making framework, 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."

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