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Published on 21 March 2018

#StopBoycott - Exclusive: Paypal shuts third BDS French account in 2018

PayPal has closed the account of French BDS organization Collectif 69 Palestine, the third boycott-Israel account the US online payment service has terminated in France since late January.

Published on March 15th in The Jerusalem Post

The Jerusalem Post sent a query to a PayPal representative on Monday and was told that PayPal opened an investigation into the account of Collectif 69 Palestine.

A review of Collectif 69 Palestine’s donation page on Thursday showed the PayPal section stating: “This recipient is currently unable to receive money.”

Collectif 69 Palestine did not immediately respond.

PayPal shuttered the account of the BDS entity Jewish French Union for Peace (UJFP) in February. In January, PayPal closed the account of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association.

The Post initiated an investigative series in 2016 into the funding streams of BDS organizations and the connections between BDS and terrorist entities.

After a Post 2016 exposé on Campagne BDS France, PayPal and the bank Credit Mutuel closed the group’s accounts amid escalating criticism over its illegal practices.

French banks and online payment services are largely cognizant of France’s Lellouche Law, which outlaws discrimination based on national origin and has been applied to BDS organizations and activists.

Israel banned in January representatives of BDS France and the France-Palestine Solidarity Association (along with 18 other boycott organizations) from entering the Jewish state.

After the PayPal closures, the Jewish French Union for Peace and France-Palestine Solidarity Association switched to online payment service HelloAsso to secure donations.

HelloAsso, which was founded by Ismaël Le Mouël, has not responded to Post emails and telephone calls regarding alleged illegal financial practices.

According to research by Israeli journalist Jean Patrick Grumberg, a reporter for the French-language American website, “The Lellouche Law from 2003 [increases] penalties for offenses of a racist, antisemitic or xenophobic nature.”

Grumberg noted that according the French criminal code, discrimination based on boycotts carried out “according to origin, sex, family status, physical appearance, surname, state of health, disability, genetic characteristics, sexual orientation or gender identity, age, political opinions, trade union activities, membership” is punishable with three years in jail and a €45,000 fine.

In a related news, the Bank for Social Economy in Germany is currently engulfed in allegations that it discriminates against Israelis by maintaining BDS accounts.

Harald Schmitz, the chairman of the Bank for Social Economy, supports the retention of multiple German NGO BDS accounts, including of Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East. Jewish organizations have asked Schmitz to clarify his bank’s position on allegedly enabling boycott activity.

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