Skip to content Skip to footer

PayPal Upholds Its Discriminatory Ban on Palestinians Amid Pressure Campaign

Israeli settlers in the West Bank have access to PayPal, but their Palestinian neighbors are barred from the service.

PayPal President & CEO Dan Schulman speaks on stage at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta on December 13, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia.

PayPal has upheld its ban on Palestinians living in the occupied territories. While Palestinians in the occupied West Bank are prohibited from using the service, Israeli settlers are allowed to use the digital payment platform.

The company’s decision comes days after eleven Democratic House members called on PayPal to expand its services to Palestinians. The letter was delivered at the company’s Annual General Meeting by Sam Bahour, a Palestinian-American businessman and co-founder of the PayPal4Palestine campaign. Bahour gave a 5-minute statement, on behalf of the group Harrington Investments, supporting a shareholder resolution and asking for a vote on the issue. PayPal’s board recommended a “no” vote and the resolution failed to pass.

“Access to online platforms should be enjoyed without discrimination,” read the letter, which was sent to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman. “The ability to use PayPal is critical for entrepreneurs, businesses, and freelancers with regional and international customers. This access is especially crucial for Palestinians given the devastating impacts to the Palestinian economy of Israel’s occupation and blockade of the Gaza strip. Arbitrarily denying financial services to Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza infringes upon Palestinians’ ability to engage in online commerce, limiting opportunities for economic growth and empowerment.”

The letter was authored by Mark Pocan (D-WI) in collaboration with the human rights group 7amleh. It was signed by Rep.s Ihan Omar (D-MN), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), Betty McCollum (D-MI) Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) Greg Casar (D-TX), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) James McGovern (D-MA)Sara Jacobs (D-CA) and Cori Bush (D-MO).

“The Israeli occupation makes it next to impossible for Palestinians to make ends meet,” reads a petition connected to the effort. “Unemployment is a shocking 48% in Gaza, so many Palestinians are desperately seeking other options like launching local digital ventures or doing freelance work online to get by.”

“There is no reason for PayPal to continue this discrimination — it’s biggest competitor, Apple Pay, serves Palestinians,” it continues. Yet, PayPal continues its discrimination against Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza in direct violation of UN guidelines.”

The petition has been signed by over 275,000 so far, including Mark Ruffalo. “Friends: Paypal operates in Israel’s illegal settlements — but is refusing to provide service to Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank, in direct violation of UN guidelines,” tweeted the actor in 2022. “Join the international call to PayPal to end its baseless discrimination now.”

We need to update you on where Truthout stands this month.

To be brutally honest, Truthout is behind on our fundraising goals for the year. There are a lot of reasons why. We’re dealing with broad trends in our industry, trends that have led publications like Vice, BuzzFeed, and National Geographic to make painful cuts. Everyone is feeling the squeeze of inflation. And despite its lasting importance, news readership is declining.

To ensure we stay out of the red by the end of the year, we have a long way to go. Our future is threatened.

We’ve stayed online over two decades thanks to the support of our readers. Because you believe in the power of our work, share our transformative stories, and give to keep us going strong, we know we can make it through this tough moment.

Our fundraising campaign ends in a few hours, and we still must raise $11,000. Please consider making a donation before time runs out.