Activists from London-based Palestine Solidarity Campaign have launched legal action against the Co-operative Bank after the latter closed the PSC’s bank accounts.
Lawyers on behalf of the campaign group say the bank “failed to provide any reasons for the closure” and “failed to provide appropriate disclosure”.
This, they said, led to the conclusion that the Co-op’s decision was based on the PSC’s “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”. They have filed the discrimination lawsuit under the Equality Act 2010.
PSC director Sarah Colborne said the bank “offered no honest or transparent explanation, only the banking jargon of ‘risk appetite,’” adding: “It has turned its back on its ethical principles.”
Over a dozen other groups and scholarship funds supporting Palestinian causes have also had their bank accounts closed, said Colborne.
“It is quite clear that the Co-operative Bank no longer cares about human rights,” she said. “It has chosen to discriminate against those who work for the freedom of those in Palestine.”
The bank, which is still making a loss, last year failed the financial regulator’s stress test, and only survived after an injection of cash from New York hedge funds, which now own most of the shares.