Israeli Minister Appeals to U.S. Governors Over AirBnb Boycott

YERUSHALAYIM -
Minister Gilad Erdan (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

In a letter to five U.S. governors, Strategic Affairs and Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan has called for authorities in the United States to take active steps against AirBnB over its recent decision to ban listings from Yehuda and Shomron. The letters were sent to New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Jerry Brown, Missouri Governor Mike Parson, Illinois Governor Bruce Rowner, outgoing Florida Governor Rick Scott and Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis.

In one of the letters, to Missouri Governor Rowner, Erdan said that the boycott of listings in Yehuda and Shomron was not to advance peace “or a better future for the Palestinians, but rather in demonizing and discriminating against Israel, the one true democracy and Israel’s strongest ally in the Middle East. AirBnb’s announced policy is especially disturbing when one understands that it is a policy directed only towards Israel. Such a policy has not been applied by the company to any other country or region involved in a national dispute or conflict. This constitutes (one hopes unintentionally) the modern form of an anti-Semitic practice which applies a double-standard to Israel in a way that is not expected or demanded of any other country.”

The content of the letters to the other governors was similar, said Ha’aretz. The letters urge the governors to speak out and take action against the company until it reverses is policy. According to Kan News, in the wake of the letter Rauner on Tuesday recommended that the Illinois Investment Policy end its investments in the company.

Erdan is the government’s point man in the fight against the AirBnb decision, and to that end has called a meeting of officials from all government ministries to discuss the impact of the decision, and ways of acting against it. Besides the letters to the governors, the panel is considering instigating legal action against AirBnb in the United States, charging the company with discrimination.

Meanwhile, Channel 20 reported, the AirBnb boycott appears so far to have had the opposite of the intended effect of its backers; instead of a drying up of tourism in Yehuda and Shomron, the past weekend saw a significant increase in tourism in the region, with bed and breakfast facilities such as those usually advertised on AirBnb reporting nearly 100 percent occupancy.