French payment service supports BDS, defies anti-bias law

The company claims to be apolitical and sees BDS as within the realm of free expression.

By
September 16, 2018 04:12
3 minute read.
A PALESTINIAN supporter holds a protest leaflet advocating a boycott of Israel in France

A PALESTINIAN supporter holds a protest leaflet advocating a boycott of Israel in France. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

The online payment service HelloAsso announced that it will continue to provide services to boycott Israel organizations whose accounts were shut down by PayPal and French banks for apparent violations of France’s anti-discrimination law.

HelloAsso tweeted a statement on September 3, saying: “We took the decision not to suspend the HelloAsso account of the France-Palestine Solidarity Association.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The US online payment giant PayPal closed the account of the pro-BDS France-Palestine Solidarity Association in January.

BDS is an abbreviation for the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting Israel.

As part of an investigative series into funding streams for BDS organizations waging economic warfare against the Jewish state, The Jerusalem Post had asked PayPal: Is the association’s account with PayPal in violation of France’s anti-discrimination Lellouche law?

After the Post query, PayPal shut down the service for the France-Palestine Solidarity Association.

HelloAsso wrote on Twitter on September 3, according to a translation on the website of the BDS movement that was verified by the Post, that “HelloAsso is an apolitical platform that does not take any position regarding the claims of the BDS movement. HelloAsso nevertheless considers this movement as within the realm of free expression and not as discriminatory or antisemitic.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


“HelloAsso’s position is supported by the European Union, which has clearly stated it favors protecting freedom of expression and association, including the right to advocate for BDS.”

The BDS movement’s website wrote about HelloAsso on Wednesday, stating: “HelloAsso, a French company that provides online payment services, has rejected pressure by Israel lobby groups to shut down the accounts of two French groups which support the BDS movement for Palestinian human rights.”

It is unclear what the BDS movement website means by “Israel lobby groups.”

Paris-based attorney Pascal Markowicz is pursuing legal action against HelloAsso for violations against France’s anti-discrimination Lellouche Law.

HelloAsso wrote in its statement: “To all those who criticize us for hosting these organizations, we respond that the conflation that allows attacks on these organizations is dangerous because it conflates antisemitism, which we condemn without ambiguity, and criticism of the State of Israel, which is a political opinion. This freedom of expression is a fundamental right.”

France has one of the most robust anti-BDS laws in Europe, the Lellouche Law, which bans discrimination based on national origin and has been applied to cases of BDS.

The Post has reached out to HelloAsso earlier this year because the company has absorbed the business of French BDS organizations whose accounts were terminated by French banks and online payment services to comply with the country’s anti-bias law.

HelloAsso, which was founded by Ismaël Le Mouël and officially launched in 2013, had not responded to Post emails and telephone calls regarding its alleged illegal financial practices.

Paul Furia, a spokesman for the French Foreign Ministry, told the Post in January, “I want to point out that calling to boycott of Israel is indeed illegal in France. Several decisions of the highest criminal court [the Cour de Cassation] confirmed that calling to boycott breaks the law and constitutes an incitement to discrimination or hate based on national origin or religion.”

Germany’s federal government commissioner for Jewish Life in Germany and the Fight against Anti-Semitism, Dr. Felix Klein, told the Post on Saturday, “BDS is decidedly antisemitic in its actions and goals.”

After a Post 2016 expose on a similar boycott movement, Campagne BDS France, PayPal and the bank Credit Mutuel closed the group’s accounts amid escalating criticism over its illegal practices.

After the PayPal closures, the Jewish French Union for Peace and Campagne BDS France switched to HelloAsso to secure donations.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

BDS
September 22, 2018
Israel slams German academy for hosting Hezbollah, Hamas, BDS supporters

By BENJAMIN WEINTHAL