August 6, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

Did Paypal shut BDS South Africa Account after PFLP terrorist meeting?

The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor retained a screenshot of the Tweet.
August 6, 2019 | The Jerusalem Post

Did Paypal shut BDS South Africa Account after PFLP terrorist meeting?

The Jerusalem-based NGO Monitor retained a screenshot of the Tweet.

Muhammed Desai, the director of one the world’s leading Boycott, Divest and Sanctions organizations, has found his group embroiled in a new Palestinian terrorism scandal after BDS South Africa last week tweeted a picture of Desai shaking hands with member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The US and the EU have both classified the PFLP a terrorist entity.

At the same time, The Jerusalem Post learned on Monday that BDS South Africa’s PayPal account is now not accepting donations. It is unclear if the online payment service PayPal closed the account due to BDS South Africa’s support and financing of a terrorist organization.

When the Post clicked on the electronic donation section of BDS South Africa, the entry by PayPal stated: “Things don’t appear to be working at the moment. Please try again later.” Post media queries to PayPal on Monday were not returned.

The now-deleted BDS South Africa tweet read: “A representative of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) with BDS South Africa’s Muhammed Desai. The PFLP works closely with BDS SA in the global campaign against Apartheid Israel.”

On Monday, NGO Monitor slammed BDS South Africa for its praise of a second Palestinian terrorist entity. NGO Monitor tweeted: “More BDS & terror; how long until BDS South Africa deletes their post with DFLP? This terror group is responsible for 1974 Ma’alot massacre of 25 schoolchildren & teachers, as well as shooting, rocket, & bombing attacks.”

NGO Monitor was responding to a tweet from BDS Africa that stated: “Muhammed Desai engaging Palestinian activists in Venezuela. Here with a member of the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP). Collective efforts from all sectors of Palestine are vital in the global campaign to isolate Apartheid Israel.”

In January, in response to the Post’s investigative series on illicit terror finance, PayPal shut the account of The Third Way, a neo-Nazi party, likely due to the group’s links to Hezbollah, Syrian President Bashar Assad and support for the anti-Israel Boycott, Sanctions and Divestment (BDS) movement.

The Post exclusively reported in 2017 on BDS South Africa’s fundraising for the PFLP, including its use of the South African First National Bank as its account. Scores of European banks and online payment services have closed accounts with BDS groups since 2016.

BDS South Africa held a series of fundraisers in 2015 with the PFLP terrorist Leila Khaled.

The BDS South Africa website shows a photograph of Khaled hosted by the group with a caption that reads, “Leila Khaled fundraising dinner in Rustenburg.” A second photograph carries the caption: “Leila Khaled fundraising dinner in Pretoria.”

Khaled was a key member of a terrorist cell that hijacked TWA Flight 840 in 1969. A year later, she participated in the hijacking of El Al Flight 219. BDS South Africa termed Khaled a “Palestine icon” on its website. It is unclear whether the money raised was sent via the First National Bank account to the PFLP and Khaled, or held in the account to promote BDS in South Africa and abroad.

Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan told the Post at the time: “Facilitating the bank accounts of BDS organizations constitutes support for BDS. Banks maintaining such accounts should carefully consider the danger of running afoul of strict anti-BDS legislation in the US and other countries. Countries have already shut BDS accounts for legal reasons and we urge others to do the same.”

BDS South Africa declined to comment.

Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


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