The future of short term rental app Airbnb could be in jeopardy, after Texas Comptroller Glenn Hegar put the company on his Divestment Statute List.
Airbnb made the list of four companies that boycott Israel, a violation of Texas state law.
This means the state will no longer give contracts to the app, unless they prove within 90 days of placement on the list. Hegar put Airbnb on the list March 1st.
This comes after Airbnb banned listings in Israel-occupied West Bank.
Airbnb will still be allowed to operate in Texas even if they don't resolve this in the next 90 days. They just will not be eligible for various state contracts, and government-operated entities will not be allowed to invest in the company.
Hegar's office released the following statement:
Effective March 1, 2019 my office added Airbnb to the Texas list of companies that boycott Israel. This action was undertaken pursuant to Texas Government Code Chapter 808 which defines "boycott Israel" as "refusing to deal with, terminating business activities with, or otherwise taking any action that is intended to penalize, inflict economic harm on or limit commercial relations specifically with Israel or with a person or entity doing business in Israel or in an Israeli-controlled territory...
As with any of our listing decisions, my office, in cooperation with our research providers, carefully reviewed Airbnb's recent statements and activities before concluding that Airbnb is a suitable candidate for the Texas list.
Texas has made it 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. I wish to thank Representative Phil King for his ongoing support of these efforts. My office has a long history of supporting Israel through our Israel bond holdings and the Comptroller's lists of scrutinized companies with ties to Iran as well as those with ties to foreign terrorist organizations. By taking this action in accordance with Texas law, we have once again confirmed that Israel has no greater friend or ally than the State of Texas and the citizens of all faiths who are proud to call the Lone Star State home.
Airbnb released the following statement:
We unequivocally reject and oppose the BDS movement and are disappointed by the decision. 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, which boosts local families, businesses and communities. Our community of hosts in Israel has already welcomed more than 1 million guests and we will continue to invest in Israel.