Overreach: PayPal Bans Jihad Watch, Then Backs Down
The Left suffers a setback in its war on the freedom of speech.
When a neo-Nazi psychopath plowed his car into a crowd of Leftist protesters in Charlottesville, the Left saw a golden opportunity to use the moment as its Reichstag Fire, and indulge its increasingly obvious authoritarian tendencies. But when they came after Jihad Watch, they overreached.
On Saturday afternoon, the Soros-funded hard-Left website ProPublica published a hit piece calling upon PayPal and other new media giants to block Jihad Watch and other groups that have been defamed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as “hate groups.” ProPublica’s Lauren Kirchner complained that Jihad Watch’s “designation as a hate site hasn’t stopped tech companies — including PayPal, Amazon and Newsmax — from maintaining partnerships with Jihad Watch that help to sustain it financially. PayPal facilitates donations to the site. Newsmax — the online news network run by President Donald Trump’s close friend Chris Ruddy — pays Jihad Watch in return for users clicking on its headlines. Until recently, Amazon allowed Jihad Watch to participate in a program that promised a cut of any book sales that the site generated. All three companies have policies that say they don’t do business with hate groups.”
The Left media said “Jump,” and PayPal immediately said “How high?” Just hours after the ProPublica piece appeared, PayPal blocked Jihad Watch. I received an email early Saturday evening from PayPal’s Ronita Murray, saying: “Due to the nature of your activities, we have chosen to discontinue service to you in accordance with PayPal’s User Agreement. As a result, we have placed a permanent limitation on your account.”
What was unacceptable about the “nature of [my] activities”? PayPal didn’t say.
Inside my PayPal account was a further notice: “When you signed up for your PayPal account, you agreed to our User Agreement and Acceptable Use Policy. Because some of your recent transactions violated this policy, we’ve had to permanently limit your account….This limitation cannot be appealed.”
Nothing about my recent transactions was actually any different from any of my other transactions over the years, and these vague messages illustrated the Kafkaesque nature of this Leftist enterprise: PayPal, like the SPLC itself, was acting as judge, jury and executioner. No discussion, no debate, no opposing view, no appeal was possible. The SPLC never contacts its targets to ask them to respond to the charges that they’re “hate groups”; it simply hands down its ruling, which the establishment media uncritically accepts, and that’s that.
But after banning Jihad Watch, PayPal encountered a crowd of free citizens. PayPal was inundated with emails and tweets denouncing its ready capitulation to Leftist attempts to delegitimize and silence all dissent. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people canceled their PayPal accounts.
And so PayPal quickly came to realize that the power of the people is not vested solely in the Leftist thugs who assert themselves ever more aggressively on America’s streets. PayPal discovered that America is still full of patriots who don’t wish to accept the Left’s lie that opposing jihad terror and Sharia oppression constitutes “Islamophobia,” which is worse than jihad terror itself.
On Monday evening, I received this from PayPal:
Effective 08/21/2017, the limitation applied to your account associated with https://www.jihadwatch.org pursuant to our User Agreement was removed. Your services are being reinstated.
PayPal’s Acceptable Use Policy in our User Agreement prohibits individuals and groups from using PayPal for activities that promote hate, violence, or racial intolerance. If we become aware of a website or organization using our services that may violate our polices [sic], our dedicated team of professionals conducts a thorough review. Ultimately, a decision is made and communicated to the organization. In this instance, we have made the determination to lift the limitation applied to your account associated with the Acceptable Use Policy.
What made Jihad Watch no longer a “hate site”? The voices of free people.
Of course, the Left’s war on the freedom of speech isn’t over. There is no doubt that the Left will continue to try to cut the ground out from under those who dissent from its agenda. But this is a victory over the Left’s totalitarian steamroller.
I have no intention of restoring the PayPal buttons on Jihad Watch. I know where they stand now, and do not intend to place myself at their mercy again. But nonetheless, this is a victory. Free people still exist in the United States, and the fascists who call themselves anti-fascists will not prevail.