Co-op Bank to close account of anti-Israel group


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.

FOA describes itself as a “UK based non-profit making NGO concerned with defending the human rights of Palestinians and protecting the sacred al-Aqsa Sanctuary in Jerusalem”.

The group was given notice three weeks after the bank shut accounts belonging to the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and a number of associated groups .

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.

“We have had a very good relationship with the bank for 10 years. We do not transfer funds abroad and we have never been overdrawn.

“We can only conclude that this is a politically-motivated attack on us amounting to institutional bullying and racism."

Mr Patel regularly appears in the British media to attack Israel, and in 2009 was a passenger on the Mavi Marmara ship which was involved in the Gaza flotilla incident.

The bank has not commented on its decision.

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