Borough Park

MasterCard says it will cease doing business with hate groups

Holocaust deniers were selling books, videos online

August 28, 2013 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
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Holocaust deniers and other groups that spout hate won’t be able to sell their merchandise through MasterCard Worldwide, according to Assemblyman Dov Hikind, who is applauding a decision by the credit card giant to stop doing business with such zany entities.

Hikind (D-Borough Park-Midwood) recently met top executives of MasterCard to thank them for their addressing what he called “this deeply hurtful issue.”

Last month, it was discovered that eight organizations were selling racist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial products, including books and videos, via websites through credit card sales. A report on one of the websites stated, “The alleged gas chambers of Auschwitz could not have existed.”

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Hikind, who represents a district where hundreds of Holocaust survivors live, said he was outraged when he learned these hate groups were selling items and using credit card companies to collect the fees. He called on all credit card companies to stop doing business with these groups.

“MasterCard was the first to take this issue seriously,” Hikind said. “Freedom of speech allows anyone to espouse openly racist, hateful ideologies, but there’s no need to make it easier for them and no cause for a respected credit card and international brand to be associated with such reprehensible material. I applaud MasterCard for their sensitivity and respect—for going the extra mile and making the necessary efforts to do the right thing,” he said.

Unlike in some European countries, where selling racist and Holocaust-denial materials is illegal, hate speech is protected speech in the United States. That means that MasterCard is limited to “educating” its merchant banks with regard to who they are issuing merchant accounts to. “But MasterCard has been a master educator,” Hikind said. He said that nearly every hate group that he reported last month for selling Holocaust denial products has now been dropped by their individual merchant banks.

“It’s an important victory,” said Hikind, who is the son of Holocaust survivors. “The Jewish community and anyone interested in historical accuracy owe MasterCard a debt of gratitude,” he said.





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