Florida removes Airbnb from blacklist after settlements ban overturned
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Florida removes Airbnb from blacklist after settlements ban overturned

US state says move came after rental giant ‘ended their discriminatory policy toward Israel’

Florida Gov. Ron Desantis gives his State of the State address on the first day of the legislative session, March 5, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)
Florida Gov. Ron Desantis gives his State of the State address on the first day of the legislative session, March 5, 2019, in Tallahassee, Florida. (AP Photo/Steve Cannon, File)

JTA — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Tuesday that he would remove Airbnb from the US state’s blacklist of companies that boycott Israel.

The state suspended the use of Airbnb for state-paid travel and had considered preventing its pension fund from investing in the firm when it goes public, reportedly by 2020, after it announced in November 2018 that it would remove listings of rooms and homes for rent in West Bank Jewish settlements.

Airbnb said at the time that it consulted with experts to learn about the historical disputes in the region to decide whether it should be doing business in “the occupied territories.”

DeSantis and his Cabinet in January voted to place the company on the list of scrutinized companies following a recommendation by the state Board of Administration.

Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky speaks during an event in San Francisco, on February 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File)

The company announced in April that it would keep the West Bank listings and donate any profits from them to humanitarian groups. The decision appears to be part of settlements between Airbnb and two groups of American Jewish plaintiffs who had sued the company.

“As Governor, I have an obligation to oppose policies that unfairly target Israel. Once @Airbnb ended their discriminatory policy toward Israel, we decided to remove them from the @FloridaSBA Scrutinized Companies List,” DeSantis tweeted.

In a statement in April, Airbnb said that it does not support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement targeting Israel.

“Airbnb has always opposed the BDS movement,” the statement reads. “Airbnb has never boycotted Israel, Israeli businesses, or the more than 20,000 Israeli hosts who are active on the Airbnb platform. We have always sought to bring people together and will continue to work with our community to achieve this goal.”

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