PayPal refuses to shut neo-Nazi account post Pittsburgh attack

Decision comes on heels of Pittsburgh shooting, CNN antisemitism poll

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December 1, 2018 21:09
3 minute read.
PayPal refuses to shut neo-Nazi account post Pittsburgh attack

The PayPal app logo seen on a mobile phone in this illustration photo. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
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The giant US online payment service PayPal declined to close an account it provides to the German neo-Nazi organization, The Third Way, The Jerusalem Post revealed Saturday.

German intelligence reports in 2018, which were reviewed by the Post, documented the radical antisemitic and xenophobic activities of the organization. When asked numerous times, in view of the lethal antisemitic attack in Pittsburgh, via email and on Twitter by the Post, if PayPal plans to close the The Third Way account, the American company declined to comment.

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The national director and chief executive officer of the Anti-Defamation League, Jonathan Greenblatt, told the Post that he plans to “work on” the case of PayPal’s account with The Third Way. The ADL seeks to combat hate and antisemitism.

In October, far-right extremist and raving antisemite Robert Bowers allegedly murdered 11 Jews in the Tree of Life of synagogue in Pittsburgh. The deadly assault, the worst antisemitic violence in US history, wounded an additional seven people.

PayPal’s decision to continue to allow the German far-right extremist entity to continue to raise funds to recruit new members and spread its ideology comes on the heels of a CNN survey in late November that revealed antisemitism is boiling in Europe.

CNN reported “About one European in 20 in the countries CNN surveyed has never heard of the Holocaust, even though it’s less than 75 years since the end of World War II, and there are still tens of thousands of Holocaust survivors alive today. Lack of Holocaust knowledge is particularly striking among young people in France: One out of five people there between the ages of 18 and 34 said they’d never heard of it.”

The poll surveyed 7,000 people in seven European countries and took place before the Pittsburgh murders. CNN’s poll concluded “Antisemitic stereotypes are alive and well in Europe,” adding, “More than a quarter of Europeans polled believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Nearly one in four said Jews have too much influence in conflict and wars across the world.”


PayPal has rebuffed calls from American and German politicians to pull the plug on its service to The Third Way. In 2017, Jennifer DiSiena, New York Republican Rep. Lee Zeldin’s communications director, told the Post that “Congressman Zeldin supports the closure of this PayPal account.”

Volker Beck, a German Green Party politician and a lecturer in the Center for Religious Studies at Ruhr University in Bochum, said, “I find that one should not voluntarily provide an account to a neo-Nazi party, Holocaust deniers and other antisemites. Therefore, I also expect companies [to show] some civil courage.”

The Third Way’s PayPal webpage, where the account is listed, calls to support a convicted Holocaust denier, saying, “Freedom for Horst Mahler: Political Prisoner of the Federal Republic of Germany.

German authorities recognize The Third Way as a clear and present danger to minorities. Hans George Maassen, the former head of the Federal Office for Protection of the Constitution, Germany’s domestic security agency, said in a 2015 German TV interview, “We have already seen that their [The Third Way] agitation, their condoning of violence and their praising of aggression are encouraging further acts of violence.” He added that “We are concerned that not only refugee shelters but also actual people will be hurt.”

The Post reported in 2017 about the growing alliance between The Third Way and Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria, as well as the Syrian dictator’s strategic partner Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The website of The Third Way published an April 30 report on the right-wing extremist group’s visit to Lebanon to champion Hezbollah’s war against Israel. The US, Canada, the Netherlands, the Arab League and Israel all consider Hezbollah to be a terrorist entity. The EU and Germany only classified Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing” a terrorist organization. The Third Way also supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against the Jewish state.

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