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Interesting. PayPal has cut off payments to the anti-Israel group BDS (Boycott Divestment, Sanctions) France.

According to the Jerusalem Post earlier this week the BDS France website’s link to PayPal returned an error message that “the recipient is currently unable to receive money.”

Now you can’t even find the link – it appears to have been removed entirely from the group’s webpage.

PayPal won’t confirm that the account has been shut down. It told the Jerusalem Post that “We can’t confirm or deny any limitation of a specific account”. However, the statement also hinted strongly that the account was closed on the grounds that PayPal co-operates fully with national laws.

The background to this is that France has Europe’s strongest anti-BDS law and applies them. The laws bar discrimination against people based on national origin and therefore the French courts view BDS as an illegal act because it targets Israelis due to their nationality.

Last month the French bank Credit Mutuel closed BDS France’s account, and, according to reports, the group then turned to PayPal in order to receive donations.

Credit Mutuel’s action followed that taken by BNP Paribas and the Austrian company the Erste group which also closed or cut ties with the organization.

The BDS movement argues that Israel is an apartheid state and seeks to force it to change policies. Those opposing BDS ask why it singles out the one democracy in the Middle East and ignores massive human rights violations elsewhere.

Organizations targeting BDS on a legal basis such as Jewish Human Rights Watch will follow the PayPal decision with interest.

This one will run and run.



3 Comments on "BDS, PayPal, and France."

  1. Globalisation has been led for many years by business. We saw that with the British Empire which was solely designed to promote British interests to the exclusion of others.

    The modern empire works in the same way, though is not based on a nation, but on a company. The most obvious candidates in this category are Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and, of course, PayPal. There are many others and there will be more.

    These companies are now finding themselves in the same position as countries – they are having to make quasi-political judgements in the same way as does a country. And they have to suffer the consequences in the same way too – but perhaps more so.

    The UK has for many years been a very active supporter of Saudi Arabia and, though it denies it, our government has traditionally turned a blind eye to many of the Saudis human rights abuses. Our government gets away with this because the voter in elections is unlikely to vote based on our relationship with a foreign country – home issues will always take priority. In addition, we only get to be democratic for one day in every five years.

    A public-facing company, however, has a different problem. Its voters, customers, can vote with their feet. A company relies on its public image as well as sales. If customers turn against it, if it gets bad press, it can lose both. Not in five years time, but next week.

    In addition, it has to take into account laws of countries, which it possibly has no control over.

    It sounds pretty ideal, really. But there is a caveat to this. At some point, a company can get so powerful that they get to dictate the terms to a country – and perhaps even to the customer. Despite the huge power of some companies in the world, we have yet to see that, not properly. But we might. Then, when a company makes a “moral judgement” about an issue, a customer, a marketplace, we will have no say if their “morality” is different to ours.

    But perhaps this is the inevitable price to pay when companies get on with the job of joining this world together, while governments are so keen to pull it apart.

    • mahatmacoatmabag | 2nd June 2016 at 12:15 pm | Reply

      The BDS movement is the deceptive cover used by the PLO to raise funds from supporters in the West for terror activities against Israel. All its activities should thus be seem as illegitimate and more & more Western governments are coming round to the conclusion that BDS fundraising is akin to money laundering by criminal gangs only in this case the funds are being used for terror support activities if not directly to pay for actual terror acts

  2. Paul Corrick | 4th June 2016 at 6:42 pm | Reply

    Agree this one will run and run. BDS is a Globally orchestrated campaign against one country Israel. BDS often impacts not Israel but Jews around the World for example Jewish Students at Universities and Palestinians who lost their livelihoods at Soda Stream. BDS makes a number of false premises for example that Israel is an Apartheid state and makes the false analogy with South Africa that did indeed have Apartheid laws. BDS targets Israeli individuals, academics, athletes, artists, actors, film-makers, who work inside Israeli institutions. It seeks to stop any acedemics, athletes,artists,actors etc performing in Israel. This punishment is reserved for Israel alone and no other country is targeted in this way how ever bad their record on human rights is. This is a double standard that shows in essence those who support BDS are not Pro Palestinian but just Anti-Israel. BDS has little effect on Israel and hurts the Palestinians more as it helps to ensure a proper peace process is stunted and in fact the Palestinians them selves would be better off without BDS BDS helps to prevent the conditions for a genuine prospect for peace. BDS essentially wants the destruction of the State of Israel. The Palestinians are secondary. They will never win and are an irritant who Israel will continue to swat away.

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