Florida’s new governor declared on Tuesday that he’s going to “turn up the heat” on Airbnb unless it changes its recently implemented policy of refusing to do business with Jewish-owned entities located in the West Bank. The area in question is land Israel conquered in the 1967 war which the Palestinians claim for a future state and deem any use of the land by Jewish Israelis to be illegal. Nevertheless, some 400,000 Jews live in scores of West Bank communities setting up one of the most contentious issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Several years ago, a group of Palestinians created a movement that it modeled on tactics successful in overthrowing the apartheid government in South Africa. The “BDS Movement” (boycott, divestment and sanctions) urges organizations, individuals and businesses not to deal with Israel. The decision by Airbnb is hailed by the BDS supporters as a victory, but Governor Ron DeSantis, who is a former Congressman, has made clear that his state will not tolerate discriminatory behavior that in the case of Airbnb meant de-listing at least 200 Jewish-Israeli-owned properties located in the West Bank. Besides the bully pulpit of his office, there is little DeSantis can do beyond making all Airbnb properties off-limits to those traveling with state funding.
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