GoFundMe accused of complicity in Israel’s genocide in Gaza

  • Post last modified:March 8, 2024
  • Reading time:12 mins read

Pro-Palestine social media users are calling to boycott the fundraising platform GoFundMe over invasive ‘compliance measures’ for Gaza fundraisers. While manufactured famine creeps across the Strip, people are claiming GoFundMe’s lengthy company procedures amount to racial discrimination and psychological warfare – and complicity in Israel‘s genocide.

GoFundMe: blocking ‘genocide escape’ funds

Since the Israeli aggression in Gaza has continued to escalate beyond comprehension, “genocide escape” fundraisers have become a social media phenomena.

Viral success stories of financial targets being met overnight have inspired hope; maybe mutual aid and a collective sense of responsibility can triumph over the most barbaric colonial violence witnessed both in our lifetimes and on our timelines.

However, organisers, desperate families and individuals have been left enraged and disgusted as the same old dichotomies emerge; racist and deathly double-standards, which effectively equate to the extension of apartheid across digital frontiers.

GoFundMe is refusing to release funds that could benefit and literally save the lives of countless Palestinian families, pending lengthy and intrusive investigations. Such investigations are not common for other fundraisers, meanwhile the website boasts about “crises management” and support for Ukraine and tornados in the Midwest.

A desperate statement

On 4 March, the money-making site posted a statement regarding its handling of campaigns for Palestinian beneficiaries. The statement exposes an unsympathetic, ‘both sides’, Zionist stance as well as demonstrating a clear lack of understanding for the grave situation Gazans currently face.

Subjecting Palestinians to dehumanising and accusatory interrogations for wanting to secure their family’s safety makes GoFundMe another punitive entity, waging psychological warfare by allowing Palestinians to raise money and hope only to humiliate them when attempting to withdraw their rightfully raised funds.

The company statement is likely in response to mounting social media pressure on platforms like TikTok and damning news articles detailing the discriminatory procedures against Palestinians.

What’s more, individuals with a high following and grassroots organisers are using their platforms to actively encourage boycotting GoFundMe while offering alternative ways to raise funds on platforms like GoGetFunding.

Gaza: a genocide in real time

2.5 million people, the entire population of Gaza, are facing an immediate threat to their lives; displaced, starving, dehydrated, injured, traumatised and under constant bombardment by US-funded, Israeli-deployed bombs. The entire Strip is also completely besieged and blockaded by Israel and Egypt, the latter entity being responsible for setting the extortionate cost of evacuation from Gaza.

This is the culmination of more than 150 days of endless war crimes, perpetrated by Israel, amounting to the genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza.

At present, more than 30,000 people have been murdered. Devastating images are circulating of people who have died by forced starvation.

70,000 people are in desperate need of immediate medical attention. Every hospital in Gaza has been bombed.

Hundreds of doctors and medical personnel have been targeted and assassinated.

Charity and humanitarian relief personnel from international agencies have also been targeted, bombed, besieged and rendered incapacitated, expediting the need for digital mutual aid.

The IOF has also assassinated 126 Palestinian reporters and media workers since 7 October, leaving civilians responsible for reporting on their own genocide, while the majority of the world spouts Zionist propaganda, outright lies, or says nothing at all.

Millions of people around the world have, thus, resorted to social media for on-the-ground news, which has caused follower growth for Gazan accounts, to the tune of millions. With statistics rivalling celebrities and breaking news coverage, Palestinians in Gaza are now leveraging their viewership for mutual aid.

Unfortunately for GoFundMe, such accounts are now also leveraging these follower bases in calling for action.


Campaign organisers are now leveraging the hashtag #ReleaseTheFunds to exert pressure, while encouraging a mass boycott with the following calls to action:

  • Do not recommend GoFundMe.
  • Don’t use GoFundMe to begin new fundraisers.
  • Do encourage users to request refunds to donors or encourage users to transfer existing campaigns to alternative fundraising platform.

Some organisers are also advocating digital actions like mass emailing and Twitter storms, to insist GoFundMe release the funds of people requesting money to aid Palestinians in Gaza, immediately.

N (their identity protected) told the Canary:

Prioritising company policy over the preservation of life is the capitalist status-quo. But people who normalise the violence of being asked to justify a family’s right to safety are part of the problem.

In moments of crisis – and specifically during a merciless genocide – time spent on certain ‘safeguarding’’ measures can literally be a matter of life or death. Sustainable, safe and straightforward fundraising is not only vital, but respects the dignity of mutual aid recipients in Palestine.

S, who also wished to remain anonymous, said:

Time is of the essence, my family’s life is at stake. Any delay to their evacuation process presents a direct threat to each one of their lives.

GoFundMe contributes to the danger my relatives face by asking me to expose details about their identities and locations as well as how they’ll use the funds.

GoFundMe’s questions not only expose their poor ethics, but also highlights a deeper issue.

A $12,000 fee to escape genocide

It is not possible to accurately answer some of their questions about expenditure because it is not possible to anticipate certain expenses or where the money will go. The Egyptian regime’s corrupt monitoring of Palestinians crossing the border at Rafah includes – but is far from limited to – extortion, bribery and other forms of financial humiliation.

Egypt is not only complicit in blockading and besieging Gaza, but have also hiked transfer fees with expensive “genocide rates” charging as much as $12,000 per person to cross.

Many fundraisers have targets over $100,000, to generate the unthinkable sums required to overcome the deathly financial and political barriers violating the Palestinian people’s right to safety and freedom of movement.

One mutual aid advocate, who has been using various online platforms, told the Canary they recommends the site GoGetFunding:

No one is asking why there are extortionate fees to escape famine, genocide and medieval medical conditions. Until when will Palestinians be held accountable for the actions of their oppressors? Palestinians justifying their right to safety and resistance has been completely normalised.

It’s easy to use, no-questions-asked and the customer service has been quick to respond via email.

They added about the crowdfunding startup, which was founded in 2011 and offers a competitor comparison tool for transparency.

H is another GoGetFunding user, who resorted to the platform as an alternative to GoFundMe in order to assist a friend in Gaza. They told the Canary:

Firstly I refuse to give that Zionist enterprise [GoFundMe] money or business. Secondly, no one else should have to face those distressing “safeguarding measures” in order to withdraw lifesaving money.

Another user said:

I chose GoGetFunding to avoid the inhumane interrogation of what rightfully belongs to Palestinians.

Gather 4 Gaza

GoFundMe’s contribution to the humiliation of Palestinians trying to access lifesaving resources emerges alongside undignified and inadequate airdrops of aid and shocking scenes of civilians being shot and bombed for approaching aid trucks. These realities have ironically precipitated digital fundraisers as a safer alternative to being exposed to gunfire and to cover inflation in the cost of essentials.

Gather 4 Gaza is an initiative based in Athens, Greece, hosting in-person events to raise funds and awareness for people besieged in Northern Gaza. The collective also educates on the cost of everyday basics like a kilogram of sugar or a packet of diapers, costing up to €100, with prices rising as scarcity prevails:

As well as accepting cash donations, Gather 4 Gaza decided to expand donor reach by creating a GoFundMe. However the team quickly decided to close their campaign and call for boycott after learning about the difficulties withdrawing and discovering a Zionist in the ranks at GoFundMe.

In their boycott statement, the Athens-based collective wrote

we also have reason to believe the demands that place Palestinian people under general scrutiny while being bombed and starved to death are linked to the Zionist ideology of GoFundMe Technology Manager Arnie Katz.

GoFundMe’s chief product and technology officer, Arnie Katz, graduated from an Israeli university and served in the Occupation Forces as an engineer. Technology offers the digitisation of personal prejudice, something also referred to as “coded bias”:

White supremacist rhetoric is also evident through the website’s AI chatbot interface, which suggested supporting Ukraine after one user enquired about a donation to a campaign for a Palestinian family:

One commenter said:

There are multiple extremist organisations operating out of Ukraine who could conceivably have been appropriating funds meant for aid relief.

They added it is not the role of GoFundMe to speculate on “the character of the potential recipient”.

GoFundMe: complicit in genocide

GoFundMe’s procedures are not simply strict or to be expected, they play a part normalising the criminalisation and heightened scrutiny Palestinians experience in all aspects of life. Downplaying or neglecting to highlight GoFundMe’s ability to enforce digital apartheid fails in holding to account every force enabling the genocide in Gaza.

Further, the refusal of platforms like GoFundMe to function, wholly or partly, within the Occupied Palestinian Territories is also representative of the policies of isolationism and the presupposition of guilt (for an as-yet-unknown crime), which plague Palestinians. Ultimately, in a time of genocide, these “safeguarding” approaches reproduce an attitude that condemns Palestinians to death for trying to live.

Any refusal by GoFundMe to release funds raised to assist the Palestinian people of Gaza constitutes direct complicity in their ongoing genocide, making GoFundMe a consenting and enabling party to the long list of Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.

The provision of a platform through which to raise funds and hopes, before demolishing them with undignified interrogations, reveals GoFundMe as yet another wager of psychological warfare in the ongoing oppression of the Palestinian people.

Too many stories of people perishing from their wounds or being murdered before they have money and approval to travel are all symptoms of the bureaucratic torture Palestinians face every day.

You can get involved:

  • Email GoFundMe to insist upon the urgency of the immediate release of funds raised to assist the Palestinian people of Gaza.
  • Amplify calls for the boycott of GoFundMe #ReleaseTheFunds.
  • Use alternative fundraising options, where possible.

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