The GOP Congress could respond to Airbnb’s anti-Israel move, but probably won’t

· November 30, 2018  
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Israeli flag in front of western wall
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A recent move by Airbnb to block Jews in the West Bank from using its listing services has sparked policy action from the incoming governor of Florida and the outgoing governor of Illinois, but not so much from the outgoing Republican Congress.

CR foreign policy correspondent Jordan Schachtel reported earlier this week:

Florida Governor-elect Ron DeSantis has also pledged to take legal action, if necessary, to stop Florida government employees from using Airbnb, should the policy continue.

Outgoing Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner is also looking into taking potential action against Airbnb.

In the Washington Free Beacon report, reporter Adam Kredo noted that the situation could potentially lead to a renewed push for anti-boycott legislation on Capitol Hill. There’s one anti-BDS bill in the Senate and another in the House, each with bipartisan support. These would be updates to 1977 anti-boycott provisions signed by President Carter.

Will legislation make it to the president’s desk before Christmas?

I asked the offices of several pro-Israel members of both chambers whether or not the Airbnb news would lead to an end-of-year push on anti-boycott legislation. “Not that I know of,” one senior GOP aide told me.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, is vocal about his interest in using the power of Congress to address anti-Semitism. “This kind of persecution has no place in any society and must end,” Cruz told the Free Beacon. “Airbnb should reverse its decision, and I will continue to work with my colleagues to combat anti-Semitism here and abroad.”

Other offices did not respond in time for publication. If responses are received, CR will update this article.

Absent any movement next week, it seems unlikely that we’ll see any progress on this front before Democrats take over the House in January. Sure, this would have been an easy last-minute messaging win for the GOP, but if Republicans were good at picking up the easy wins, they might not have lost the House earlier this month.

Editor’s note: This article has been updated with quotes from a senior GOP aide and Sen. Ted Cruz. It has also been updated to clarify that several offices did not respond in time for publication.


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Author: Nate Madden

Nate Madden is CRTV’s congressional correspondent. Follow him @NateMaddenCRTV or send tips to [email protected].