July 13, 2018 | The Jerusalem Post

Exclusive: Paypal closes French BDS media account

The giant US online payment service PayPal shut down the account of a major French boycott,sanctions, divestment (BDS) organization targeting Israel on Thursday, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

PayPal's services to Agence Media Palestine–the Paris-based BDS organization–now reads on the group's website: “This recipient is currently unable to receive money.”

The Agence Media Palestine advocates on its website for BDS, stating “The campaign for Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions against Israeli occupation and settlements is growing in the world and in France.”

French BDS organizations have faced a series of  financial setbacks since 2016.In 2018 alone, PayPal terminated the accounts of four BDS organizations prior to the closure of Agence Media Palestine.

The BDS entities were, according to legal experts, in violation of France's anti-discrimination  Lellouche Law, which bans discrimination based on national origin. BDS targets Israelis based on their national origin.

After the closure of their PayPal accounts, a number of the BDS organizations switched their donor payment to the French online payment company HelloAsso.

Post queries to HelloAsso  were not returned. In addition to PayPal, Agence Media Palestine  maintains a HelloAsso account. The Post has learned that legal action is slated againt HelloAsso for discrimination against Israelis.

In March, PayPal closed the account of French BDS organization Collectif 69 Palestine and  French branch of the International Solidarity Movement – an organization that Israel has accused of aligning itself with pro-Palestinian terrorists who murdered three civilians and wounded over 50 people in Tel Aviv in 2003.

PayPal shuttered the account of the BDS group Jewish French Union for Peace (UJFP) in February.

In January, PayPal closed the account of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association.

After a Post 2016 exposé of another BDS organization – Campagne BDS France – PayPal and banking giant Credit Mutuel closed the group’s accounts amid escalating criticism over its illegal practices.

Agence Media Palestine did not immediately answer a Post press query. The twitter feed of Agence Media Palestine numbers 3,887 followers as of Friday. The BDS organization's Facebook page lists on Friday just over 54,000 likes.  the Post launched an investigative series in 2016 into the funding streams of BDS organizations and the connections between BDS and terrorist entities.

Benjamin Weinthal reports on human rights in the Middle East and is a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies. Follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.

Follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD. FDD is a Washington-based nonpartisan research institute focusing on national security and foreign policy.