Israel shutters 30 BDS fundraising accounts by revealing alleged terror ties

Strategic Affairs Ministry says it quietly targets finances of anti-Israel groups in effort to expose connections to Hamas, Islamic Jihad, PFLP

Illustrative: Palestinian and left-wing Jewish groups stage a rally walking from Times Square to United Nations Building in New York, September 15, 2011, calling to end all US aid to Israel, end the occupation and support Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) against Israel. (AP Photo/David Karp)
Illustrative: Palestinian and left-wing Jewish groups stage a rally in New York City, September 15, 2011. (AP Photo/David Karp)

Israel has quietly waged a two-year financial campaign against organizations promoting a boycott of the Jewish state by revealing their connections to terror operatives, leading to the closures of dozens of fundraising accounts, the Ministry of Strategic Affairs said Monday.

The campaign targeted fundraising accounts for groups promoting the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement against Israel that were hosted on platforms like PayPal and DonorBox.

Under the direction of the ministry, pro-Israel activists alerted the platforms to violations in their regulations banning fundraising activities connected to terrorism.

The effort shuttered 10 accounts based in the US and 20 in Europe, the ministry said.

Pro-Israel activists involved in the effort included legal NGOs, Jewish groups based in the US and France, and journalists based outside Israel, Channel 13 reported.

“For years, boycott promoters have disguised themselves as ‘human rights activists,’ managing to raise tens of millions of euros from Western countries and citizens who thought they were contributing to causes supporting justice and equality. Over time, though, we have revealed that the supposed ‘human rights’ NGOs are in reality filled with anti-Semitic operatives with deep ties to terrorist groups fixated on destroying the State of Israel,” Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan said in a statement.

“As a result of our actions, countries and financial institutions are now distancing themselves from these organizations. Our efforts have drastically undermined the boycott campaign, leading to it having much less finances to operate, and barred from receiving financial services,” Erdan said.

Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan speaks at press conference with foreign media in Bnei Brak on February 3, 2019. (Flash90)

Three accounts tied to the Samidoun international network of activists were shuttered recently after the International Legal Forum nonprofit revealed Samidoun’s ties to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terror group, the ministry said.

The Ramallah-based BDS National Committee had its crowdfunding account on DonorBox shut down after the Shurat Hadin nonprofit revealed its connections to the PFLP, Hamas and Islamic Jihad terror groups. Group leader Salah Khawaja served a yearlong prison sentence on terror charges, the ministry said.

The Al-Haq pro-BDS group had its credit card accounts shuttered for its ties to the PFLP. The head of the organization, Shawan Jabarin, was a senior member of the PFLP who served a two-year prison sentence for terrorist activity.

The Interpal organization’s MyDonate crowdfunding account and several credit card accounts were closed due to its ties to Hamas.

The announcement follows a report released by the ministry earlier this year accusing some Western-backed Palestinian NGOs of maintaining close ties with current and former terrorists, some of whom have shifted to battling Israel through nonviolent means.

In the 79-page report, titled “Terrorists in Suits,” the Strategic Affairs Ministry pointed to several high-profile Palestinian activists who it said were former or current members of Hamas or the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

The ministry said in the February report that it had found more than 100 “links” between terror groups and organizations promoting anti-Israel boycotts, “including the employment of 30 current and former terror operatives.”

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