A song posted on Facebook by two British-Israeli brothers in protest against home-rental company Airbnb’s contentious decision to remove listings in Israeli settlements in Judea and Samaria was itself removed by the social media platform after it began to go viral.
Brothers Sruli and Mendy Portnoy, of the musical duo Portnoy, found a creative way to protest Airbnb’s decision and wrote a protest song which they filmed themselves performing and posted on Facebook.
The clip quickly notched up more than 70,000 views before being removed by the social media giant, which offered no explanation for the move.
In response, the Portnoys decided to record and film themselves performing a full-length version of the song, which they again posted on Facebook. This time, as well as taking Airbnb to task, they also took a jab at Facebook.
“It’s unfortunate that a well-known platform like Airbnb succumbed to BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions movement] bullies who are determined to spread anti-Semitism,” they said. “We don’t like getting involved in politics, but when the line between politics and blatant racism becomes so gray, we feel obligated to make our voices heard against what we consider to be blatant discrimination.”
Like its predecessor, the new video went viral as well, quickly winning over 40,00 views. The second video was still available for viewing on Wednesday morning.
On Monday, Florida’s Republican Governon Ron DeSantis announced he planned to take action against Airbnb.
On a visit to a local Jewish day school, DeSantis Airbnb’s new policy is “to basically discriminate against Jews in the West Bank. They delisted all Jewish listings in the West Bank. They do not treat anybody else in the entire world like this; it’s only targeted in these Jewish communities.”
“I think that that likely runs afoul of Florida’s BDS legislation; we’re reviewing that now. We’re also going to review how Florida interacts with Airbnb; I know that state workers are allowed to use Airbnbn for official travel. That is not going to be acceptable with me as governor, so I think Airbnb should reevaluate and reverse this policy. If they don’t do that, then it’s going to be rough sledding here in the state of Florida, and we’ll review our options of what we can do with that.”
The state of Illinois, which has invested money in Airbnb, may withdraw funding over the home-rental company’s new policy. The state will announce its decision on the matter next month.
Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan has asked governors across the United States to sanction the company and speak out against its discriminatory policy.
In announcing its decision last week, Airbnb said it would cease its operations in Israeli settlements “that are at the core of the dispute between the Israelis and Palestinians.”
It said the decision came after consulting with experts and “wrestling with the ethics” of whether to do business in Israeli settlements, which much of the international community views as illegal.
On Thursday, lawyers in Israel filed a class action lawsuit against Airbnb, accusing it of “outrageous discrimination” and demanding monetary compensation over its delisting of dozens of properties in Judea and Samaria.