Paypal's Shameful Decision and Shameless Reversal

The little money that my organization Stop Islamization of America (SIOA) and the Freedom Defense Initiative (FDI), as well as my website, generate came close to being cut off Friday when Paypal called all three websites “hate” sites. The leading online payment service said it would close my accounts if I do not act first and remove the Paypal option from each website. After an avalanche of emails from Atlas readers, PayPal reversed itself and said the whole thing had been a mistake; but the implications of the incident for conservatives remain ominous.

Paypal sent me a notice Friday saying that “after a recent review of your account, it has been determined that you are currently in violation of PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy. Under the Acceptable Use Policy, PayPal may not be used to send or receive payments for items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or the financial exploitation of a crime.”

SIOA is an advocacy group devoted to defending the freedom of speech, the freedom of conscience and the equality of rights of all people. Atlas Shrugs is a news site and a political blog. I am not responsible for the bad news in the world. I just report on it.

So for PayPal, defending American values and reporting the news accurately had become “hate.” Truth is the new hate speech.

My SIOA and FDI colleague, Robert Spencer, explains: “This is an issue with much larger implications than just a few Paypal accounts. This is a question of whether people with politically incorrect opinions will be denied access to services. Businesses are free to refuse to deal with whomever they choose to, except where regulated by law. But when they won’t do business with someone because they dislike her political opinions, the potential for abuse is enormous, and the possibility of making it economically unfeasible to hold political opinions that are unpopular with the political elites becomes immediate and real.”

I have no large donors. Apparently the jihad in the United States is hard at work trying to kill free speech (including SIOA’s religious liberty bus ads and our No 9/11 Mosque Movement), preventing the truth from making its way to those in pursuit of it. Paypal contributions have helped pay for the bus ads, the wildly successful June 6 rally against the Islamic mega-mosque at Ground Zero, live coverage of these initiatives, and much more. I said that repeatedly in news stories when Associated Press, Reuters and others kept asking me about who paid for the religious liberty bus ads. Readers did. Americans did. You did.

So the global jihad, choking on petrodollars, tried to shut down my little spigot.

And wait, there’s more. Revolution Muslim, a group of jihadists in New York who are open inciters to violence and Jewish genocide, had a Paypal button on its website.

Got that? Oh, the irony. Nice work, Paypal.

It got better still: Paypal’s policy bans users from selling “items that promote hate, violence, racial intolerance or thefinancial exploitation of a crime.”

I am not selling anything. But look at this on eBay, which owns Paypal. One eBayer is selling a series of dvd’s featuring lectures by the Imam Anwar al Awlaki.

Remember al Awlaki? He is the imam to the worst of the jihadists of recent years, including the 9/11 Muslim terrorists, the Fort Hood shooter Nidal Hasan, the Times Square car bomber, the Christmas underwear bomber, the 7/7 London bombers, the 7/21 London bombers, the leader of the transatlantic airline bombers, and others.
But the jihad was apparently just fine with eBay and Paypal, at least until enough Atlas readers complained.

Of course, Paypal and all businesses are free to conduct business with whom they choose, and in what ever way they choose, within the bounds of the law, letting the market decide. I believe in that as an absolute. I do not believe for a moment that the government should step in and regulate or force a business into doing bad business (i.e., as in the case of sub-prime mortgages).

But I also believe that it is in my power to call attention to bad business practices and let the market decide. If Paypal was going to punish courageous voices and free men while sanctioning evil, people had to know that before they give their business over to such quisling companies.

After I announced Paypal’s action at Atlas Shrugs, I was overwhelmed by the support and by all the people who have been writing to Paypal. The left lost this one, but I am sure they’ll try to silence me and other conservatives in other ways. What they don’t know is that we have not yet begun to fight.