The online payment service GoFundMe has terminated its account with Al-Awda, a Palestinian organization that seeks to return all refugees to Israel and promotes the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement that targets the Jewish state.
According to screen shots of social-media posts from GoFundMe and Abbas Hamideh, the head of Al-Awda, the crowdsourcing platform closed the account in January.
“We’ve reviewed your GoFundMe account and confirmed we are unable to process donations for it,” a GoFundMe representative wrote. “Your GoFundMe account and any associated campaigns will remain closed. We also aren’t able to share the reasons for this action.”
GoFundMe is a California-based crowdfunding platform that permits people to raise money for celebrations and causes.
“Apparently GoFundMe doesn’t want to do business with Al-Awda – Right of Return,” Abbas Hamideh wrote. “We are an American nonprofit (501c3) organization advocating for Palestinian refugees. They refuse requests to disclose reasons why they shut down a legitimate fund raiser after using them successfully for the past four years. Why did they shut us down? Could it be because we are advocates of the BDS movement and one of its founders?”
The Jerusalem Post, as part of its ongoing investigative series into banks and online payment services that provide accounts to BDS organizations, has reported over the years on the closure of more than 30 accounts due to antisemitism related to BDS and Palestinian terrorism. Post exposes have led to account closures in the US and Europe. The German Bundestag classified BDS as antisemitic in May.
Abbas Hamideh has repeatedly tweeted a slogan that antisemitism experts argue is a form of genocidal antisemitism. Hamideh has written: “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free!” – suggesting the elimination of the Jewish state.
Hamideh told the Post the aforementioned phrase is a Palestinian slogan that precedes what he terms Israeli colonization of Palestine and was first popularly used during the Arab revolt against the British colonization of Palestine.
“We are talking many years before the existence of the Israeli occupation of Palestine that followed suit,” he said. “Palestinians cannot be antisemitic towards non-semites occupying Palestine. We are proudly anti-Zionist, anti-injustice and anti-occupation. This goes for every single Palestinian on Earth that is in the struggle for the freedom and liberation of our ancestral homeland, Palestine. [US President Donald] Trump’s [peace] plan is actually advocating apartheid and genocide, which is quite the opposite.”
According to Al-Awda, the group wants to raise funds this year to protest against the pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC.
“The major portion of our expenses is for Al-Awda’s upcoming National Rally to Support Palestine and Protest AIPAC on Sunday, March 1, 2020, in Washington,” Al-Awda wrote.
Al-Awda “is the only Palestinian led organization in North America whose main focus is on the Palestinian refugees’ Right to Return to their ancestral homeland,” it wrote.