PayPal has joined other major online payment systems in shutting down services to the BDS group Samidoun, which has close ties with Palestinian terror groups.
Over the last several weeks, the International Legal Forum, along with the Zionist Advocacy Centre, successfully petitioned PayPal, along with Donorbox and Plaid, to shut down financial services to Samidoun.
Yifa Segal, director of the International Legal Fund, commended PayPal and the other online-payment systems for their decision.
“The evidence against Samidoun is overwhelming. It paints a clear picture of a terror organization trying to create a seemingly legitimate operation under the guise of human-rights activism; to spread its message, recruit supporters and raise funds,” he told JNS.
Segal said “PayPal has done the right thing by shutting down their account. In fact, it made the only reasonable choice. I believe PayPal, as well as the other financial platforms [that] complied with our requests and shut down Samidoun’s accounts, are sincerely interested in preventing terror financing. That’s their strongest motive.”
Samidoun is a North American-based NGO with a wide network of ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP), a designated terrorist group, both in the United States and across Europe. Close connections exist between Samidoun and the PFLP, including senior-member events promoting PFLP agenda and campaigns that support and glorify terrorists.
Additionally, the group has been involved in a recent high-profile case in Germany regarding convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmea Odeh.
According to its website, “Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network is grassroots, unfunded organization. We rely on the support of people like you to make our work possible.”
However, Samidoun is the main advocate for the release of Palestinian prisoners—many of them with ties with the PFLP. A recent Israeli government report titled “Terrorists in Suits” noted that Samidoun “has a wide network of ties with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist organization.”
According to the International Legal Forum, it intentionally masks its relationship to PFLP, withholding key information about staff members and publishing content in English that belies its real agenda expressed in Arabic.
On its website, Samidoun has criticized efforts to shut down its online-payment services by “pro-apartheid” agencies, saying that it will not be “silenced” and is committed to continuing its work.
As a result, Samidoun has opened up new payment channels directly through credit-card companies, such as Visa and Mastercard, on its website. The International Legal Forum said that it will petition such companies, warning them that providing services to Samidoun will put them at risk of violating U.S. laws that prohibit material support to terrorist groups.
“Terror groups are known to be very persistent and creative; you close one door, and they find another to come back through,” said Segal. “We, however, are determined to shut down any form of funding, with every win making the next one easier.”