UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Go Fund Me stops Palestine Action’s funds

GoFundMe, the fundraising platform, has stopped Palestine Action from withdrawing further funds. This follows letters from UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) pointing out that Palestine Action’s fundraiser was raising money to assist criminal activity. This was in breach of various of GoFundMe’s terms, and UKLFI warned that the company and its personnel may themselves be liable as accessories to these criminal offences.

photo by David Collier: Palestine Action demo, Holborn, London on 10 October 2020  

One of the top donors to Palestine Action’s fundraiser was a James Dickins, who may be the same person as the Leeds University professor who recently attended and spoke at a Leeds University Palestine Solidarity Group meeting featuring the hijacker Leila Khaled.

Palestine Action’s fundraising page stated “Donations will be used to pay for costs associated with running our campaigns”. Their campaigns consist of criminal actions seeking to disrupt businesses of which they disapprove.  They explain:  “activists have taken direct action 15 times against arms manufacturer Elbit Systems, with a view to shutting them down. Palestine Action have targeted sites in London, Oldham and on 14 September staged a dramatic 3 day occupation of Elbit’s Shenstone site, culminating in the arrest of 5 activists.” This action clearly constitutes aggravated trespass: see the decision of the UK Supreme Court in Richardson v DPP [2014] UKSC 8.

Their actions also include criminal damage. They boast in a video on their Facebook page that they will “throw paint on them, smash their batteries, go there, continue to cause damage, until Elbit Systems fuck off and leave this country”.

UKLFI warned that by assisting in the raising of funds to support these activities, GoFundMe and its staff could be liable as secondary parties assisting the criminal offences committed by Palestine Action’s activists. See the guidance of the Crown Prosecution Service (public prosecuting service for England and Wales).

The Palestine Action fundraising page on GoFundMe now contains a message warning donors that GoFundMe has currently stopped withdrawals from their fundraiser. They say “If you want to donate, do not do it here as we will not receive the funds.”

Jonathan Turner, chief executive of UK Lawyers for Israel commented:

Palestine Action carry out blatantly criminal actions to promote their aims, which they seek to justify on the basis of utterly false allegations.  We are pleased that Go Fund Me has now disabled Palestine Action’s fundraising on their site.”