Airbnb announced a reversal of its decision to not allow listings from Jewish residents of the West Bank. This retreat from an imprudent policy is very welcome, as is Airbnb’s repudiation of the discriminatory anti-Israel boycott, divestment, and sanctions movement.
The Israel Action Network (IAN), supported by Jewish Federation of Greater Ann Arbor's annual community campaign, has been hard at work on this matter since November, when Airbnb announced a policy to delist Jewish-owned properties in the West Bank. Jewish Federations, IAN, and our national partner agencies have advanced legislation in states with large pensions, prohibiting those funds from being invested in companies that boycott Israel. Officials from states including Florida, Illinois, New Jersey, and Texas agreed that were Airbnb to become publicly traded, state pension funds would not be allowed to invest in it.
IAN is proud of our legislative work that pressured Airbnb to reverse its discriminatory policy. In addition to legislative measures, several governors—after pushes from Federations and JCRCs — used language developed by IAN to announce that state employees could no longer use the service for official business and that Airbnb would be included in state divestment lists. IAN also met with Airbnb officials to try to resolve the issue and to explain its implications.
This reversal would never have occurred without the significant political and economic pressure we put on Airbnb. This should serve as a deterrent to other companies that are considering caving in to pressure by the nefarious BDS movement.