Assemblyman Hikind (D-Brooklyn) had the highest praise for MasterCard and its executives for educating its merchant banks with regard to doing business with hate groups. Meeting with MasterCard’s top executives this morning, the Assemblyman thanked Richard Santoro, MasterCard Worldwide’s VP of Government Affairs, and Noah J. Hanft, General Counsel and Chief Franchise Integrity Officer for MasterCard Worldwide, for their diligence in addressing this deeply hurtful issue.
Last month, the Assemblyman called on all of the major credit card companies to withdraw their support from numerous haters operating in the United States and abroad when it was discovered that eight Holocaust denial organizations were selling racist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust Denial products (books, videos) via websites through credit card sales. Some of the many anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denial books sold by these organizations include Protocols of the Learned Elders of Zion, and The Rudolf Report which states, “The alleged gas chambers of Auschwitz could not have existed.”
“MasterCard was the first to take this issue seriously,” said Assemblyman Hikind. “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.”
Unlike in certain European countries, where selling racist and Holocaust-denial materials is illegal, hate literature is protected speech in the United States. As such, 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,” said Assemblyman Hikind who noted 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 Assemblyman Hikind, the son of Holocaust survivors. “The Jewish community and anyone interested in historical accuracy owes MasterCard a debt of gratitude.”
Source: Press Release