On 8 October 2008 Lloyds TSB wrote to the Islamic Bank of Britain (IBB), giving them 60 days notice of withdrawal of their services as a clearing bank, unless they agreed they would no longer process transactions for Interpal, a charity sending aid to Palestinians in Gaza. In effect, this meant that the IBB would have to close down or freeze Interpal’s account or lose clearing facilities for all its customers’ accounts. After representations from The IBB, Lloyds TSB agreed to postpone this action until 30 January 2009.
The reasons for this action? Lloyds TSB allege that Interpal have links with terrorist supporters of Hamas. Two such previous allegations have been investigated by the Charity Commission and proved unfounded. Since Hamas are the democratically elected party running Gaza, it would be difficult for an aid organisation delivering aid to Palestinians not to have some involvement with them.
Interestingly, the chairman of Lloyds, Sir Victor Blank, is former chair of the Union of Jewish Students, one of ‘Labour Friends of Israel’, governor of Tel Aviv University and a member of the Jewish Leadership Council. Some bias there perhaps?
So what can we do?
I phoned the Lloyds TSB press office (020 7356 2493) to register my disgust as a customer and now part owner of the bank (since the bail-out with British tax-payers money). The response I got was that they could not comment on individual cases due to customer confidentiality. Instead I was referred to their laughably named ‘Customer Service Recovery’ department. You can write to them at;
Lloyds TSB Customer Service Recovery,
P.O. Box 63, Birmingham, B1 2AB.
Or write to
Sir Victor Blank
Chairman Lloyds TSB Group plc,
25 Gresham St, London, EC2V 7HN.
Sign the online petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/FOSISPal/
Alternatively, join the demonstrations happening outside a branch near you.