Anti-Israel BBC interviewee runs foul of UK bank’s ‘risk appetite’

Last month the Jewish Chronicle reported that a British bank had informed an anti-Israel campaigning group of its decision to terminate services.

Anti-Israel rally, London, UK, 17/10/2015

Anti-Israel rally, London, UK, 17/10/2015

“An anti-Israel group has accused the Co-operative Bank of “institutional bullying and racism” after it was told its bank account would be closed.

Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA) was informed last month that its account with the Co-op would be closed after a 60-day notice period.”

As the JC also reported, the same bank previously terminated its business with other anti-Israel campaigning groups, including the Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

“In those cases, the Co-op said the decision was due to its own “risk appetite” and had followed due diligence checks.

FOA chair Ismail Patel, who was a leading supporter of blood libel cleric Sheikh Raed Salah, said: “There is no legitimate way for the Co-operative Bank to justify its actions.”

An article in the Independent quoted a spokesperson for the bank as saying that:

“…it carries out due diligence checks on all of its customers, especially those operating in high risk environments, to make sure the funds do not inadvertently fund “illegal or other proscribed activities”.

“Unfortunately, after quite extensive research, the charities involved did not meet our requirements or, in our view, allow us to fulfil our obligations,” the spokesperson said.” 

The JC noted that:

“Mr Patel regularly appears in the British media to attack Israel, and in 2009 [2010 – Ed.] was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara ship which was involved in the Gaza flotilla incident.”Ismail Patel

The BBC is one of the British media organisations to have hosted Ismail Patel on its national (for example here and here) and local platforms (for example here, here, here and here). The corporation has also promoted campaigns and demonstrations organised by Mr Patel’s group and has used contributions from another organisation with which Mr Patel is associated. Together with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Friends of Al Aqsa has pressured the BBC on the topic of its coverage of Israel’s capital city.

It of course remains to be seen whether or not the BBC has a ‘risk appetite’ of its own concerning the appearances of representatives of Hamas-supporting groups such as Friends of Al Aqsa and the Palestine Solidarity Campaign on BBC platforms.  

Related Articles:

The Independent has no idea why Co-op Bank closed Friends of Al-Aqsa’s account  (UK Media Watch) 

More conspiracy theory amplification from BBC’s Yolande Knell – and why it matters


5 comments on “Anti-Israel BBC interviewee runs foul of UK bank’s ‘risk appetite’

  1. For your information, Friends of Al-Aqsa appears on the list of proscribed organizations that is circulated to all banks and financial institutions. If a bank allows such an organization to have a bank account it will be banned from certain types of interbank trading, especially if this involves the USA where the regulations are even stricter than in the EU.

  2. The BBC certainly has a hearty “risk” appetite for the Hamas terrorist-loving Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), as BBC Watch reported on 28 January:

    BBC Watch readers will have read the link to David Collier’s UK Media Watch piece. Here he shows the group descending into civil war. He also explains how former PSC leader and Mavi Marmara participant Sarah Colborne was metaphorically hurled from the PSC rooftop for being insufficiently extreme in her and the PSC’s support for terrorist groups and virulent anti-semitism.

    “…As Director of the PSC, Sarah Colborne was well aware of the fine line between the acceptable and the unacceptable, and several times in the past had moved to publicly distance the movement from extremists that would highlight the ‘under-the-surface’ connection between support for the Palestinians and both support for terrorist groups and virulent antisemitism…”

  3. Well, well, well. Whilst the Co-operative Food Stores continue their silly, selective boycott of Israeli products to appease their trade union allies’ biased views, the Co-operative Bank – being now managed by professionals trying to get back the bank into serious finance – are putting prejudices aside and boycotting anti-Israel organisations.

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