PayPal Congressional Letter
On Wednesday morning, May 24th, Members of the United States Congress sent a letter to PayPal CEO Dan Schulman, urging the company to open up services to Palestinians in the Palestinian occupied territory. This letter was sent in collaboration with 7amleh - The Arab Center for the Advancement of Social Media, as a part of the bigger PayPal4Palestine Campaign’s efforts, which was launched in 2016 in collaboration with several organizations.
The campaign points out that PayPal currently provides services throughout the state of Israel, and even to Israeli settlers living in the illegal settlements in the West Bank, but does not allow Palestinians to access its services in what seemingly appears to be discriminatory business practices. Denying Palestinians access to PayPal's services affects the Palestinians’ rights to access livelihood and work opportunities and participate in the development of their economy. Furthermore, Mastercard, Visa, Swift, and Apple Pay have all entered the Palestinian market with no problems, so there does not seem to be any foreseeable barriers to entry for PayPal.
In the early stages of the campaign, the campaign’s partners launched an official online petition that currently has over 275,000 signatures, and was notably signed by actor and activist Mark Ruffalo last summer. 7amleh also published an official PayPal4Palestine website, which provides an overview of the situation, and allowed supporters to send emails to PayPal’s CEO in the Fall of 2021. However, Schulman did not provide a response to the thousands of emails received, so 7amleh has turned to other stakeholders, such as the US Congress, for support.
The letter is being delivered on the morning of PayPal’s Annual General Meeting, where a shareholder resolution will also be introduced on the matter. Sam Bahour, a Palestinian American businessman, and one of the founders of the PayPal4Palestine campaign will introduce the resolution and urge the company’s shareholders to vote yes. If the resolution is approved, it will provide a powerful message to the board of the company that PayPal needs to start taking steps towards opening up services in Palestine.
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