The ‘Ethical Bank’ Stabs Palestinians in the Back as it closes Palestinian solidarity accounts

The ‘Ethical Bank’ Stabs Palestinians in the Back as it closes Palestinian solidarity accounts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Post-Blog

Boycott the Co-operative Bank and Withdraw Your Accounts

The Bank for Ethical Racists
The Ethically Zionist Bank

Last
month, without any warning, the Co-operative Bank junked its ‘ethical banking
policy and closed the accounts of 21 Palestinian related accounts including
national Palestine Solidarity Campaign, the International Solidarity Movement
and other campaigns listed below.

We should
not be surprised by this decision.  Ever
since its 2013 financial crisis, when it was rescued by American hedge funds
and the Co-op Bank’s Chairman Paul Flowers resigned in a comedy of drug taking
and other misdemeanours, the Co-op’s attachment to an ‘ethical’ banking policy
has been more a matter of words than actions. 
Bunny Rabbits ‘r’ fine – Palestinians aren’t
Now
when the excuse of ‘anti-terrorism’ is being used to justify mass surveillance
of the population and the eradication of basic civil liberties, as per the Government’s
Prevent and anti-Extremist policies, as political and anti-capitalist
activities are reclassified as ‘Extremist’, we should not  be surprised that Palestinian solidarity
organisations are being targeted.  The
Co-operative Bank’s decision that holding Palestine related accounts offends
its ‘risk appetite’ is particularly scandalous and cowardly, but there is
little that one can expect from the Co-operative brand today.
We agree – actions speak louder than words – and the actions of the Co-op in barring Palestinian accounts say all that needs to be said
This
is not the first time this has happened. 
Many years ago Alliance & Leicester played  a similar trick and PSC was forced to transfer
its bank account to the Co-operative Bank. 
Now, once gain, support for  Palestine
is being made a question of ‘terrorism’ buying into the Zionist narrative that
support for those who are victims of ethnic cleansing, mass murder and racism
are ‘terrorists’ unlike the terrorist state that expels, murders and
disposseses them.  This is imperialist
democracy and the Co‑operative Bank is playing its part in the McCarthyist
atmosphere of today.
The Rev. Flowers – The drug dealing, porn addict who  was the Co-op Bank’s Chairman
We
should not forget either that the same tricks were tried with the African
National Congress, which the State department and Margaret Thatcher used to
classify as ‘terrorists’ in the days of Apartheid.  States, unless they come into conflict with
NATO and the USA are never deemed terrorist regimes, no matter how many people
they murder or torture.  This is the
hypocrisy of free market capitalism and this is where co-operatives which
operate in a market economy end up.
The Co-op Bank Opposes Torture – Except if Israel is doing it
Our message? 
Withdraw your accounts and  boycott
the Co-op Bank until it backs down.
Today
the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) has launched a legal case against the
Co-operative Bank on the grounds of discrimination.
The Politically and Financially Bankrupt Bank
Last
month, PSC’s account was closed by the Co-operative Bank which cited “the
Bank’s risk appetite” for the closure and has refused to elaborate further.
That’s true – the Hedge Fund owned Co-op Bank isn’t the usual bank
Another
20[i]
organisations working for Palestine – including a number of PSC branches – have
also had their accounts closed or denied.
PSC
and its legal team believe the decision is discriminatory and contravenes the
Equality Act 2010. 
PSC has today initiated legal proceedings against the Bank.
ITN
solicitors, acting on behalf of PSC, state the Co-operative Bank’s “failure to
provide any reasons for the closure of PSC’s account, which has been compounded
by your failure to provide appropriate disclosure, leads to the conclusion that
the decision to close the account is based on:
  1. Our client’s cogent belief in Palestinian rights,
    including the right to self-determination and the right of return, and to
    oppose Israel’s occupation and violations of international law.
  2. The nationality or religion of the Palestinian
    people.”
Therefore
the decision to close PSC’s account is “contrary to sections 13 and 29 of the
[Equality] Act [2010]”.
ITN
solicitors said: “Our clients have been refused banking services, without any
reason or an opportunity to provide representations. Our clients have therefore
sought a full explanation from the Co-operative. It appears that the decision
was taken because of PSC’s support for Palestine. A decision based on active
support of Palestinian causes – or on the nationality or religion of the
Palestinian people – would be discriminatory. It is in the wider public
interest to ensure that banks are held to account for their decision making
processes; a bank cannot be above the law by virtue of its status.”

Sarah
Colborne, PSC’s Director said “Many people and organisations choose to Bank
with the Co-operative because it markets itself as an ethical bank. But in
deciding to close down the accounts of those working for or in Palestine it is
clear the Co-op Bank has turned its back on its ethical principles.

“The
Co-operative Bank is very good at professing its ethical principles. It has a
glossy 27 page document which proclaims it believes in ‘acting with honesty and
transparency… treating customers fairly, [and] promoting human rights and
equality’. It is very hard to see any evidence of these principles today.
Instead it has closed the accounts of those working for human rights and
equality for Palestine, offering no honest or transparent explanation – only
the banking jargon of ‘risk appetite’.

Sarah
continued “PSC and our members are angry and disappointed at the Co-operative
Bank which has turned its back on the ethical principles which drew so many of
us to open accounts there in the first place. And today we will be writing to
our members telling them of the Co-operative Bank’s decision and asking those
who Bank with the Co-operative Bank to move their accounts.

“It
is quite clear that the Co-operative Bank no longer cares about human rights –
the Palestinians suffer incursions on their human rights day in, day out at the
hands of an occupying force that continues to violate international law. In the
UK we have a great tradition of solidarity organisations coming together to
stand against human rights violations throughout the world – this is something
that the Co-operative Bank should support and not punish.

“But
in taking this decision it appears that the Co-operative Bank has chosen to
discriminate against those who are working for the freedom and human rights of
those in Palestine.”
[i] List of local groups who have had their accounts
closed or denied:
  1. Abergavenny PSC branch
  2. Abu Bakr Rauf Memorial Scholarship Fund
  3. Boycott Israel Network
  4. Bristol PSC branch
  5. Cambridge PSC branch
  6. Computers for Palestine
  7. Discover Palestine
  8. International Women’s Peace Service Palestine
  9. Liverpool Friends of Bil’in
  10. Norwich PSC branch
  11. Northern Palestine Solidarity Network
  12. Nottingham PSC branch
  13. Oxford PSC branch
  14. Plymouth PSC branch
  15. Saddleworth Women’s Scholarship Fund
  16. Sheffield PSC branch
  17. Sheffield Palestine Women’s Scholarship Fund
  18. West Midlands PSC branch
  19. York PSC branch
  20. Yorkshire Palestine Cultural exchange

 

 

 

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