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DeSantis goes after Airbnb over West Bank decision

Florida governor also pledges at least $2M for Jewish school security

Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Tuesday at a news conference at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton, Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks Tuesday at a news conference at the Jewish Federation of South Palm Beach County in Boca Raton, Florida. (WPLG-TV image)

BOCA RATON, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is pushing for sanctions against Airbnb unless it reverses its decision barring lodging listings in the disputed West Bank in the Middle East.

He also pledged to provide at least $2 million in funding for security at Jewish day schools.

"We won't tolerate anti-Semitism here in Florida," DeSantis said.

The Republican governor on Tuesday criticized the online lodging marketplace for a policy he said unfairly targets Jewish people.

DeSantis is suspending the use of Airbnb for any state-paid travel. DeSantis also said the state was looking into whether to bar the state's pension fund from investing in Airbnb even though right now the company is not publicly traded.

Airbnb announced in November that it would cease its operations in Israeli settlements "that are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians."

In a response to DeSantis' announcement, company spokesman Ben Breit underscored all of the other business Airbnb does in Israel.

DeSantis also announced Tuesday his first foreign trip will be to Israel, sometime after the legislative session in May. He said he wants to expand commercial ties between Florida and Israel.