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A Letter to eBay: Possible Unlawful Boycott of Israel and Alleged Discriminatory Price Gouging

Ebay headquarters in San Jose, California. Photo: WikiCommons.

StandWithUs, National Jewish Advocacy Center, and Zachor Legal Institute wrote to eBay, noting that eBay consumers have brought to our attention significant concerns regarding eBay’s business practices, including allegations that eBay may be discriminating against consumers trying to ship goods from the United States to Israel in violation of anti-boycott laws and international treaties. We requested that eBay provide clarification, investigate the allegations set forth in the letter, and initiate relevant remedial action.

April 15, 2024

Jamie Iannone,
CEO of eBay

Via Email: jamie@ebay.com

Re: Possible Unlawful Boycott of Israel and Alleged Discriminatory Price Gouging

Dear Mr. Iannone,

We write to you from StandWithUs, an international, non-profit organization with the mission of supporting Israel and combating antisemitism; National Jewish Advocacy Center, a nonprofit organization committed to our mission to advocate for the Jewish nation and the Jewish State; and Zachor Legal Institute, a non-profit civil rights organization combating antisemitism.

eBay consumers have brought to our attention significant concerns regarding eBay’s business practices, including allegations that eBay may be discriminating against consumers trying to ship goods from the United States to Israel in violation of anti-boycott laws and international treaties. We request that you provide clarification, investigate the allegations set forth below, and initiate relevant remedial action.

First, eBay customers have notified us of multiple discrepancies in eBay’s activities regarding trade to Israel as compared to other foreign countries since October 7, 2023, when thousands of Palestinian terrorists and armed citizens led by Hamas slaughtered more than a thousand civilians in Israel and took over 200 hostages into Gaza. Starting on October 7 until a recent date, eBay blocked Israel as a shipping destination. Accordingly, sales could not be processed when the final address selected was Israel. The following homepage notification was displayed:

Expect interruptions to Israel service. Listings temporarily no longer show shipping availability. Due to the current events, many major shipping carriers around the world are experiencing interruptions in service to Israel. As a result, many eBay listings will no longer show shipping availability temporarily to buyers with shipping addresses in Israel.

Further, when a merchant offering an item with worldwide availability was based in the United States, where eBay’s in-house, default service option “eBay International Shipping” is used, consumers requesting Israel as the final destination received the message:

Unfortunately, shipping to your location is not available at this time.

This did not appear to be the case when the merchant was based outside of the United States, for example in Germany, Canada, Australia, or the United Kingdom, where the same or similar item for purchase was able to successfully deliver to Israel via a different non-eBay administered service. And from our understanding, major international shipment companies and rival e- commerce sites, like USPS, Amazon, and Ali Express, have never blocked service to Israel and have only faced minimal delays, if any.

In short, it appears that eBay’s US-based operations — and not in other countries — have been refusing to ship items to Israel, while simultaneously engaging in trade with other countries, possibly participating in a boycott in violation of US law. Our understanding is that within the last few weeks, eBay has since lifted this complete ban, however a standardized message that there may be delays in shipping still appears for those with Israel set as the destination.

Furthermore, consumers requesting Israel as a shipping destination are facing sky-high shipping and handling costs (“costs”) from the same “eBay International Shipping” service that no other country appears to be subject to. From our analysis, these costs — irrespective of and not proportional to the cost of the product itself — seem to be consistently in the $60-70 range, which is two to three times greater than when selecting any other applicable country destination. When shipping service options “Standard International Shipping” or “USPS” are available, the costs for delivering the same items are significantly less than eBay’s own shipping service. When shipping originates from a non-US location, the costs do not seem to vary significantly based on destination.

As you may be aware, anti-Israel boycotts not only violate numerous Federal anti-boycott laws, but also legislation in over 30 US states, many of which house your offices, employees, and interstate business operations. The US Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security defines the term “boycott” as referring “to economic coercion associated with such tactics as refusing to engage in business transactions or conditioning business transactions on agreements that a party will not do business with another party or country.”

The past six months of eBay’s refusal to service consumers in Israel from the US. at all or on terms equal to other countries likely constituted such a boycott, regardless of if one has been publicly declared. And now, whether eBay is intentionally acting in furtherance of the same perceived boycott tactic or is merely using price gouging as a means to “legally” dissuade customers from engaging with Israel, this discriminatory conduct is potentially in violation of the same set of laws. This extant practice requires immediate clarification.

We therefore request that you investigate this alleged non-compliance and engage in a thorough and transparent review of your policies to ensure adherence to Federal and state anti-boycott legislation and regulations. Thank you for your prompt attention to this timely and critical matter. We look forward to a response to this letter by April 30, 2024.

Sincerely,

Roz Rothstein Marc Greendorfer Mark Goldfeder

CEO and Co-Founder President CEO and Director

StandWithUs Zachor Legal Institute National Jewish Advocacy Center

The post A Letter to eBay: Possible Unlawful Boycott of Israel and Alleged Discriminatory Price Gouging first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing

The University of Toronto is now seeking a court injunction to put and end to the encampment in King’s College Circle after the 8 a.m. deadline passed Monday morning—while unionized workers joined students, faculty and other protesters at a rainy morning rally. Shortly after the ultimatum hour, the university announced in a statement from UofT […]

The post University of Toronto seeks injunction to end protest encampment over ‘harmful, discriminatory’ speech outlined in court filing appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire

Mayor Olivia Chow was among those who addressed the crowd.

The post Monday morning saw the Toronto community and politicians showing support for the Chabad girls’ school struck by weekend gunfire appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.

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‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa in Chatsworth, South Africa, May 18, 2024. Photo: REUTERS/Rogan Ward

South African Jewish leaders castigated their country’s president, Cyril Ramaphosa, for what they described as him calling for a “genocide” against Jews in Israel over the weekend.

Ramaphosa was speaking at an election rally in Johannesburg on Saturday when he deviated from his prepared speech to lead the crowd in in a chant of “From the River to the Sea, Palestine shall be free” — a popular slogan among anti-Israel activists that has been widely interpreted as a call for the destruction of the Jewish state, which is located between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The address took place at FNB Stadium, where South Africa’s ruling African National Congress (ANC) held its final rally before South African elections on Wednesday. According to Politicsweb, a news website focused on South Africa, a call for the release of the “hostages held in Gaza” who Hamas terrorists kidnapped from southern Israel on Oct. 7 appeared in Ramaphosa’s prepared remarks but not in his final speech.

The South African Jewish community lambasted Ramaphosa for his remarks in a statement shared with The Algemeiner, expressing “its revulsion at the introduction of a call to exterminate Jews from their homeland” by the president.

“The president of the ruling ANC party and the head of state of a democratic country has called for the elimination of the only Jewish state in the culmination of the ANC president’s election speech made to thousands of ANC members and on national television,” said Wendy Kahn, national director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD). “He uses the populist slogan ‘From the river to the sea, Palestine will be Free,’ which is widely regarded as a call to genocide of the Jewish people. The call to remove all Jews from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea equates to removing all Jews from Israel.”

Kahn compared the slogan with Hamas’ goal to “see Israel as ‘Judenfrei,’ or Jew free,” before noting that such an endpoint contradicts the South African government’s stated policy of supporting a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“The chanting of this slogan by a head of state of a government that recurrently tries to express their commitment to a ‘two-state Solution’ as their policy on Israel and Palestine is hypocritical to the full,” the SAJBD said. “How does a sitting president reject his own government and own party’s international relations policy? This reconfirms our understanding that President Ramaphosa and his government are not looking for a peaceful solution to the tragic conflict, but rather to cause discord among fellow South Africans against its Jewish community.”

Kahn added, “The president’s contempt for South African Jewry is evident in this unscripted outburst at the rally which amounts to nothing more than Jew hatred. The SAJBD is reviewing its options for holding the president accountable for these hateful words.”

South Africa’s ANC government has been one of the harshest critics of Israel since Oct. 7, when Hamas terrorists launched the ongoing war in Gaza with their invasion of and massacre across southern Israeli communities.

South Africa temporarily withdrew its diplomats from Israel and shuttered its embassy in Tel Aviv shortly after the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom, saying that the Pretoria government was “extremely concerned at the continued killing of children and innocent civilians” in Gaza.

In December, South Africa hosted two Hamas officials who attended a government-sponsored conference in solidarity with the Palestinians. One of the officials had been sanctioned by the US government for his role with the terrorist organization.

Earlier this month, members of South Africa’s Jewish community protested Foreign Minister Naledi Pandor’s recent call for students and university leaders to intensify the anti-Israel demonstrations that have engulfed college campuses across the US.

In January, the South African government failed in its bid to argue before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) that Israel’s defensive war in Gaza constituted a “genocide.” However, the top UN court last week ordered Israel to halt its military operations against the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas in the southern Gaza city of Rafah. The emergency ruling was part of South Africa’s ongoing case at the ICJ.

The post ‘A Call for Genocide’: South African Jews Blast Country’s President for Chanting ‘From the River to the Sea’ first appeared on Algemeiner.com.

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