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#PayPal4Palestine campaign urges PayPal to serve Palestinians, not just Israelis

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PayPal refuses to do business with Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, but allows Israelis and Israeli settlers to use their digital payment service. After PayPal ignored their requests for a meeting, Palestinian activists launched a Twitter campaign on Friday to call out the company in public with the hashtag #PayPal4Palestine.

The situation is an impediment for Palestinian tech workers and journalists, who have to get by using services other than PayPal, despite its being an industry standard for paying freelancers and even full-time employees. The group behind the hashtag, Americans for a Vibrant Palestinian Economy (A4VPE), says that Israeli restrictions on information technology are undermining American attempts at Palestinian economic development to the detriment of its youth.

“Palestine produces roughly 2,000 IT graduates per year that are well-positioned to address the huge gap between growing demand for online Arabic content and the current lack of supply. Currently, however, only one-third of these graduates find work in their field. Without access to the needed services that facilitate businesses to grow, more Palestinian youth will fall into the despair of unemployment and all that it carries with it,” wrote Sam Bahour, head of A4VPE, in a press release on Friday.

Graphic being shared on social media as part of #paypal4palestine campaign. (Image: Twitter)

Graphic being shared on social media as part of #paypal4palestine campaign. (Image: Twitter)

In an open letter to PayPal CEO Daniel Shulman, penned by A4VPE and signed by dozens of Palestinian advocacy groups, A4VPE said PayPal’s should not be concerned about doing business with Palestinians given it already operates in 203 countries around the world. More than that, Palestinian banking services have close connections with the U.S. Dept. of Treasury, which is responsible for ensuring U.S. cash does not flow to untoward activities abroad.

“We have been told that PayPal is concerned about the compliance investments required to enter the Palestinian market. We believe such costs have been greatly overestimated. The U.S. Treasury Department has spent a great deal of time working with the Palestine Monetary Authority to strengthen safeguards against abuse. PayPal currently operates in over 203 countries including places with major problems of corruption and terrorism like Somalia and Yemen. We are confident that Palestine will prove a much easier place to profitably do business than these and other markets that PayPal has already entered,” the group writes.

On Twitter, Palestinian supporters of the effort shared their views with the #PayPal4Palestine hashtag.

The Palestinian economy is linked into the global one by shekels, dollars, euros and Jordanian dinar. An international company PayPal, Bahour told Mondoweiss, has power similar to that of a government itself. PayPal, by failing to provide service to Palestinians, is standing in the way of millions of U.S. and European aid dollars meant to improve the lives of Palestinians.

“Our government spends millions and millions of dollars here trying to bring peace. Are Americans happy with their money going as a grant into the Palestinian authority without effort whatsoever to get the Palestinian economy to work for itself?” Bahour said.

With a strong Palestinian economy, U.S. “taxpayers could be relieved of those payments. That’s would be one reason as a taxpayer I would want to see our companies do the right thing. Not only because of human rights perspective but also because our government is engaged with our tax dollars for 70 years. Are we going to prop up a deteriorating status quo, or are we actually trying to solve the issue?”

Wilson Dizard

Wilson Dizard is a freelance reporter and photojournalist covering politics, civil rights, drug policy and everything else. He lives in Brooklyn with his bicycle, camera and drum set.

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15 Responses

  1. Boomer on August 28, 2016, 12:21 pm

    re: “Are we going to prop up a deteriorating status quo, or are we actually trying to solve the issue?”

    If “we” means the U.S. government, is there really any need to ask?

  2. amigo on August 28, 2016, 12:25 pm

    Thanks for the report Wilson.I shall now place Pay Pal lower down on my list of companies to use for financial transactions.

    Btw , does MW use PayPal for it,s fund raisers, ??. Just wondering.

  3. ritzl on August 28, 2016, 12:38 pm

    Hmm. The Jewish CEO of Paypal does business in every other country in the world except Palestine.

    I wonder if the vaguely-worded California anti-BDS applies to Paypal. This would certainly seem to be a boycott against a specific ethnic group. The absolute proof being the 1 of 203 condition.

    Goodbye CA state revenues PayPal.

    Actually this boycott drives a stake through the heart of that, and similar, legislation, but suggests that if such legislation is worded universally it might help Palestinians.

    The Israelis and their sycophants here are out of options for coercing Israel-friendly behavior from free people. Not only is it unconstitutional, near as I can tell the side effects are ALL worse for Israel (from their perverse, like-us-or-else PoV) than the problem-that-isn’t-a-problem (BDS) they’re trying to crush.

    It’s just bizarre.

    Thanks WD. Important stuff of the hoodathunkit (Palestine solely targeted in the entire world is beyond even my cynicism) variety. A pristene example of the needless challenges/affronts Palestinians and Palestine face solely because Israel covets their land and resources, wants to humiliate them, or more likely both.

    • ritzl on August 28, 2016, 12:58 pm

      Edit: It’s just bizarre that they keep on trying.

      The inconceivable “innateness” of the “we must be obeyed” mentality of Israelis (as perfected on Palestine and Palestinians) that propels these coercive efforts despite the more destructive (to themselves) side effects is astounding. It’s way beyond blinkered. It’s like gravity (the invisible force sense) of the mind or something. I don’t know.

  4. ritzl on August 28, 2016, 2:38 pm

    What’s with the appeal to reason as a correcting force/mechanism? US Treasury does business…? Pfft.

    PayPal isn’t doing this for any valid or rational reason. They’re doing it because they desire to afflict Palestinians at the behest of the GoI. Period.

    The correcting force is to afflict back. Somehow.

    • ritzl on August 28, 2016, 2:49 pm

      There may be some shaming leverage here:

      Schulman apparently has a social conscience for non-Palestinian types. Also PayPal is possibly in a sensitive biz position because it’s heading in new directions after splitting with eBay. It may be sensitive to bad publicity which this blatant discrimination will draw out.

    • Abierno on August 29, 2016, 12:15 am

      Palestinians need to look beyond PayPal. Schulman is being brought in because PayPal is falling behind Apple pay. Also Jack Ma of alibaba is introducing alipay. Organized Palestinian computer specialists should look both east and west to sell their expertise and products, building a wave of momentum that simply rolls over PayPal which is heading to the same oblivion as Netscape.

  5. eljay on August 29, 2016, 8:00 am

    This article – which anti-Semitically refers to Schulman as “a Jew” – leads one to believe that Mr. Schulman is a Zio-supremacist. This might explain…
    – PayPal’s decision not operate in Palestine; and
    – why social activism appears to have selectively disappeared from his DNA.

    • Kay24 on August 29, 2016, 3:24 pm

      Paypal must be yet another company that wants to help Israel keep the occupation going and the collective punishment alive.

      According to Wikipedia:

      “Schulman once told the New York Times, “I was born with social activism in my DNA. My grandfather was a union organizer in the garment district in New York City. My mother took me to a civil rights demonstration in Washington in my stroller.”[6]

      It seems when it comes to the rights of occupied Palestinians Schulman’s social activism goes out of the window. Amazing what that DNA can do.

    • Talkback on August 30, 2016, 2:51 am

      ‘– which anti-Semitically refers to Schulman as “a Jew”’

      The article is not negatve, so it can’t be ANTI-semitic.

      • eljay on August 30, 2016, 7:27 am

        || Talkback: The article is not negatve, so it can’t be ANTI-semitic. ||

        The article may not be negative, but according to Zio-supremacists if you mention that a person is a Jew, you’re “Jew counting” and that’s anti-Semitic. I’m sure hophmi or one of the other guys will chime in any moment now to express outrage.

      • Talkback on August 30, 2016, 11:23 am

        Sorry, didn’t catch the sarcasm in the first place, because I didn’t know that was the definition of these “antisemitism” junkies.

      • eljay on August 30, 2016, 11:31 am

        || Talkback: Sorry, didn’t catch the sarcasm in the first place, because I didn’t know that was the definition of these “antisemitism” junkies. ||

        The definition of anti-Semitism is, as they say, “fluid”. If you’re not careful, it can drown you. ;-)

  6. Jane Porter on September 14, 2016, 10:43 am

    The definition of anti-Semitism is, as they say, “fluid”.

    If you anti- semite your are anti-arab, whatever religion they have: christian , jewish, moslem or not religious. The founders of Israel were not semitic, it’s just one of their annexations for their exclusive use, like the Holocaust, denying the other groups of people beeing murdered by the nazis.
    The jews who greatly contributed in European culture, were German, French, British, Dutch, Polish, Russian and so on, with a religious background as most Europeans: catholic or protestant. It is most stupid that ignorant christian racists invented this term semite for the Askenazi group that never came from Palestine. They were persecuted as a religious entity like the protestant by the catholics and vice-versa in all Europe

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