JustGiving removes Interpal pages after protests from pro-Israeli group

UK Lawyers for Israel said JustGiving was breaking US and Australian anti-terror laws by hosting pages for the relief charity

JustGiving
JustGiving

The online donation platform JustGiving has removed more than a dozen fundraising pages for the Palestinian relief charity Interpal after a group of pro-Israel lawyers claimed the organisation contravened US and Australian anti-terror laws.

UK Lawyers for Israel wrote to JustGiving last week saying it was "acting in breach of Australian and US anti-terrorism legislation" by providing a fundraising platform for Interpal.

It asked JustGiving to "cease forthwith".

The pages, which have now been taken down, contained pledges of up to £8,000 each.

Caroline Turner, director of UKLFI, said: "We are pleased that JustGiving acted so swiftly in removing the pages."

A JustGiving spokesman said it had closed Interpal's account 10 years ago and the examples highlighted by UKLFI were inactive cached pages that could still be seen.

"They were historic pages that could not receive funding," the spokesman said.

The London-based organisation has been investigated by the Charity Commission but remains a registered charity. 

According to its latest accounts, for the year ending 31 December 2017, it employs 57 staff and has an income of £5.9m.

A spokesman for Interpal said in a statement: "As mentioned by JustGiving themselves, we have not had an account with them for over 10 years. Having old, inactive volunteers’ fundraising pages that were mistakenly left up now removed by the platform is a non-story and is not of note.

"What is of note, however, is that this pathetic attempt at making it a story is part of a wider, ongoing campaign by UKLFI to attack, delegitimise and undermine the humanitarian work of Interpal and many other charities for Palestinians. These lobbyists seek to meet their agenda through issuing threats to service providers of legitimate charities by citing US, Canadian and Australian law, yet their actions prove an irreverence and disregard to the UK laws and institutions through which we are able to operate. 

The statement added that the charity was in contact with the Charity Commission - as are other charities - about this "vindictive campaign against humanitarian aid for Palestinians".

UKLFI has disrupted the finances of several not-for-profit organisations, which it says have links to terrorism.

The online payment processing company PayPal stopped providing services to the anti-poverty charity War on Want in October after a complaint by UKLFI.

War on Want said the decision was based on "unsubstantiated smears".

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