UKLFI: Supporting Israel with legal skills

Interpal ceases fundraising as its income plummets

Interpal’s income has plummeted and it will now concentrate on advocacy rather than fundraising, according to its 2020 annual report and accounts, which have just been published by the Charity Commission.

In Interpal’s 2019 annual report, the auditors stated that there was material uncertainty about whether Interpal could continue as a going concern.  This uncertainty continues, and the 2020 report says: “The trustees consider the loss of access to banking facilities in May 2020 to be the key material uncertainty that may affect the Trust’s ability to continue as a going concern.”

Interpal’s loss of banking facilities followed letters from UK Lawyers for Israel (UKLFI) to banks and other financial service providers, drawing their attention to Interpal’s designation as a terrorist organisation in the USA and other countries, and the consequences that might ensue under US law if they continued to provide their services to Interpal.

Interpal has apparently given up fundraising, and no longer has a “Donate” page on its website.  It suggests that supporters donate essential supplies, volunteer or advocate for Palestine.

Interpal’s income reduced from £6.2 million in 2019 to £2.55 million in 2020. In 2018 Interpal’s income was £7.04 million. In their report, the trustees commented that the fall in income “can be attributed to the loss of banking facilities in May 2020 and the impact of the Covid 19 Pandemic.”

According to its website “Interpal was established in 1994 to empower Palestinians facing poverty and hardship across the West Bank, Gaza Strip and the refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon.” Interpal is designated as a terrorist organisation in the USA, Canada, Australia and Israel, but is registered as a charity in England and Wales. Interpal denies support for terrorism.

Interpal’s trustees describe their future plans as follows:

  • “Continue and strengthen advocacy and awareness raising work to support Palestinian human rights.

  • Provide expertise and capacity building support to other organisations working to provide humanitarian aid for Palestinians in need.

  • Continue to challenge the actions of the anti-Palestinian lobby and help improve the environment for Palestine focused organisations.”

In their report for the year 2020, Interpal’s independent auditors said:

We draw attention to note 1(c) in the financial statements which indicates the closure of the Charity’s bank account during the year. The Charity has been unable to open another bank account due to its designation in the US and its donation income, since the account closure, has declined significantly. We believe the Charity’s ability to fundraise and continue its charitable operations is extremely limited without access to banking facilities. We believe these events and conditions, indicate that a material uncertainty exists that may cast significant doubt on the Charity’s ability to continue as a going concern. Our opinion is not modified in respect of this matter.”

Note 1(c ) said:   “The charity’s bank account was closed in May 2020 and the trustees consider this to be a key material uncertainty that may affect the Trust’s ability to continue as a going concern.

The trustees have reviewed the organisation’s financial position, level of reserves, financial and risk management and are satisfied that the funds available are sufficient for the year ahead. The financial arrangements in place meet any immediate operational requirements and in line with the revised modus operandi there are minimal projected costs in the future. The Board of Trustees continues to adopt the ‘going concern’ basis in preparing the account.”