Texas ends business relationship with Airbnb over Israel policies


Officials in Texas said Thursday that the state would end its relationship with home rental company AirBnB due to the company's recent decision to delist residences in disputed territories including the West Bank.

Texas officials told The Dallas Morning News that the decision was linked to opposition to the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, which urges businesses and governments to avoid doing business with Israel due to Jerusalem's treatment of Palestinians.

The decision makes "very clear that our state stands with Israel and its people against those wishing to undermine Israel's economy and the wellbeing of its people," the state comptroller's office told the Morning News.

AirBnB announced last year that it would remove around 200 listings from Jewish settlements in the West Bank, which lie on territory disputed by Palestinian and Israeli authorities. The decision also caused controversy in Israel, which views the settlements as legal.

“We are most certainly not the experts when it comes to the historical disputes in this region,” AirBnB said in November, according to The New York Times. “Our team has wrestled with this issue and we have struggled to come up with the right approach.”

On Thursday, the company argued that it "reject[s]" the BDS movement and made the decision as part of a larger policy to not list residences in disputed territories around the world on its site. Other territories affected by the policy reportedly include South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

"We unequivocally reject and oppose the BDS movement and are disappointed by the decision," Airbnb told the Morning News in a statement. "There are over 20,000 Airbnb hosts in Israel who open their doors and showcase the best of Israeli hospitality to guests from around the world."

The company has about 20,000 users who list residences in Israel, according to statistics provided to the Morning News, hosting a total of 1 million guest since AirBnB premiered in the country.
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