By Tim Saunders, 10th December 2008
Kettering Town FC
(Please visit the link below to sign a petition requesting Lloyds TSB to stop denying humanitarian aid to 5 million Palestinian refugees and forward to people you know)
Kettering Town Chairman Imraan Ladak will return his 2007 Lloyds TSB Asian Jewel Award after learning that the bank, recently bailed out by billions of pounds of British taxpayers money, are on the verge of ending humanitarian aid for up to five million Palestinian refugees in desperate need, by cutting off the charity Interpal’s (who have raised over £50m) banking facilities.
The Kettering Chairman feels he has no choice as “Lloyds TSB’s plans can only result in escalating the horrific suffering of innocent children, supported by those with racially motivated agendas. I no longer trust that Lloyds TSB follow the equal opportunities and anti-racist principles the Asian Jewel Awards are based upon. At Kettering Town, like the majority of British football clubs, we value success on and off the field equally. “Off the field” includes supporting and promoting humanitarian causes and dozens of charities and we won’t change these principles, even for a Goliath like Lloyds TSB.”
This evening, Kettering Town (leading scorers in the history of the FA Cup and first club to ever have a shirt sponsor) will continue their quest for FA Cup glory, wearing their Interpal shirts live on Setanta Sports, having displayed the Wateraid and Interpal charities instead of corporate sponsors regularly since July 2007. Gianfranco Zola, Les Ferdinand and Christian Karembeu are some of the legendary footballers that have played for Kettering Town in the charities shirts.
As most are aware, the beleaguered Palestinians have been the victims of ethnic cleansing and sixty years of human rights violations - condemned by 69 United Nations resolutions and almost every country in the world, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of catastrophic proportions. This slow genocide, described by former US President Jimmy Carter as “one the the greatest human rights crimes on earth” and the great Nelson Mandela as “apartheid” is solely because they were born Palestinian. However, the success of Interpal’s humanitarian efforts is at odds with the racially motivated aspirations of those behind the suffering who have made unsupported and damaging allegations against Interpal, with the sanction of the George Bush regime.
The UK Government and Charities commission on each occasion have investigated these allegations and found them to be without merit. Following a two year legal challenge, the Board of Deputies were forced into a substantial out of court settlement and a humiliating apology after having repeated such allegations
When Kettering Town agreed to display Interpal on its playing shirts, they received the congratulations and letters of support from several MP’s within the Labour Party, Conservative Party and Liberal Democrats.
In November 2008, it was reported that Lloyds TSB – the bank that had just received billions in aid from the taxpayer – were trying to stop Interpal from trading.
Kettering Town FC immediately contacted Lloyds TSB to ascertain why a charity, supported by the UK government and it’s main opposition parties, the United Nations and the UK Charities commission was under threat. Lloyds wrote back:
“Lloyds TSB does not hold or never has held accounts for Interpal. Furthermore, Lloyds TSB would not direct nor would it be appropriate for us to direct another institution on how to deal with its own customers.”
However Kettering Town FC are now in possession of a letter from Lloyds TSB (acting as a clearing bank) to IBB (with whom Interpal bank), dated 8th October 2008 which states:
“We are writing to you to give you notice that, from the date falling on the sixtieth calendar day following the date of this letter”..(Eid – the festival somewhat akin to Christmas)..“we do not wish you to transfer, receive, process or in any way deal with any funds, or in any way whatsoever (acting either as banker or agent on behalf of the Customer) be involved with any type of banking arrangements for Interpal…”
This letter clearly indicates that the information Lloyds TSB provided Kettering Town FC was inaccurate at best, downright misleading at worst.
Kettering [Town] have since written to the Lloyds TSB Chairman Victor Blank, who was a Chair of UJS Hillel, a member of “Labour friends of Israel” and a Governor of Tel Aviv University (which sits on a site where scores of innocent Palestinian women and children once lived before their homes were bulldozed). Alas, it appeared Mr Blank was too busy planning the Lloyds TSB/HBOS merger to reply to little old Kettering Town FC’s interest in starving children.
Kettering then wrote to David Manning GCMG CVO who only joined the Lloyds TSB board in May 2008, having previously been an ambassador to Israel, sure that a newly appointed board member would have the time to explain why Lloyds TSB were trying to stop aid to the most desperate of people. To date they have had no response.
However Kettering Town FC have received renewed statements of support from MP’s who are trying to lobby our Prime Minister Gordon Brown to ask his good friend Victor Blank to reverse this sickening act by Lloyds TSB.
We trust the Prime Minister will ensure race does not determine if banks process charitable donations.
Selected letters of support:
"I have seen for myself the excellent work that Interpal does funding hospitals, health clinics, nurseries, schools and orphanages in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. Because of the current conflict and the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Palestine, the work of charities like Interpal is even more essential. As a reputable charity, audited by the Charity Commission, I know that every pound given to Interpal will help to improve the lives of children, women and families in Palestine and I commend this excellent initiative by Kettering Town FC."
Dr Phyllis Starkey
Labour Member of Parliament
Milton Keynes South West
"As a member of the International Development Committee I have seen at first hand some of the excellent projects that help improve water and sanitation services in Africa and elsewhere. Anybody who works on development issues in the Middle East also knows that millions of Palestinians face appalling levels of poverty and deprivation - whether they are cut off from the outside world in Gaza, in the occupied West Bank or in refugee camps in other parts of the region. That is why the work of groups like Interpal is so important. I congratulate Kettering Town FC for supporting the valuable work done by both of these charities."
i>"…I am writing to say that I applaud your initiative in raising funds for Water Aid and Interpal.
I know that Water Aid is active with regard to water provision in Africa and Asia, whilst Interpal is providing humanitarian aid to the displaced Palestinian people. Whatever one’s views of the situation in the Middle East, it must be right that peoples of all nationalities and persuasions have access to clean water, sanitation and other basic facilities and this is no less true for Palestinians in refugee camps as it is for Israeli people living in new settlements.
So, as Kettering’s local MP, I am very happy to support Kettering Town Football Club in encouraging charitable donations via Interpal and I very hope that as much of the money raised as possible goes to help people in desperate need."
Member of Parliament for the Kettering Constituency
House of Commons
“I am delighted to learn of the sponsorship for Interpal and can I wish Kettering Town every success for the new season”
Liberal Democrat MP for South East Cornwall