Illinois board rules Airbnb in violation of state laws

An independent board in Illinois on Wednesday voted to notice Airbnb that it was in violation of state laws as a result of its ban on listing in Judea and Samaria.

By World Israel News Staff

The Washington Free Beacon reports that an independent board in Illinois voted on Wednesday “to notify the online lodging website Airbnb that it is violating state laws barring the economic boycott of Israel, according to sources tracking the ongoing meetings.”

Illinois is the first state to take action against Airbnb, according to the Free Beacon.

The Illinois Investment Policy Board Committee on Israel Boycott Restrictions voted unanimously to inform Airbnb it was in violation. The board is made up of governor appointees representatives of the state pension board, the Free Beacon said.

Airbnb has 90 days to respond before it is blacklisted in Illinois, the Washington, D.C.-based online news site reports.

One former top Illinois state official who was involved in creating anti-BDS legislation mandating Illinois divest from any company backing Israel boycotts, the nation’s first, told the Washington Free Beacon that a blacklisting by the state could negatively impact Airbnb when it goes public in the near future.

“This is a watershed moment for anti-BDS laws in America,” a former Illinois official involved in crafting anti-BDS legislation told the Free Beacon. “If I’m an investor looking at a possible IPO next year, this is very worrisome.”

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Airbnb created an uproar when it announced on Nov. 19 that it is removing lodging listings placed by Israelis who live in communities in Judea and Samaria. The decision affected about 200 listings.

Airbnb based its decision on political motives, saying in its statement announcing the move, “Our hope is that someday sooner rather than later, a framework is put in place where the entire global community is aligned so there will be a resolution to this historic conflict and a clear path forward for everybody to follow.”

The Free Beacon reported late last month that the Trump administration and pro-Israel leaders on Capitol Hill expressed anger at the global rental-listing company for its decision are were considering penalizing it. The Free Beacon said that Airbnb’s boycott could revive anti-boycott legislation that had bogged down in Congress.

Airbnb’s decision also stoked outrage on Capitol Hill and in some corners of the Trump administration. Illinois Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner and Florida Republican Gov.-elect Ron DeSantis both publicly stated that their states are examining whether Airbnb violated laws barring U.S. companies from engaging with the BDS movement.