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To Birmingham Pride,

As LGBTQIA+ groups in the UK, we welcome your commitment to ensuring events for our communities continue during the Covid-19 pandemic, with the announcement of a ‘virtual pride’ on May 24th. An online pride event has the potential to bring people together across borders and time zones, in a celebration of LGBTQIA+ identities and in protest against the continuing injustices faced by our communities worldwide.

We know that the fight for LGBTQIA+ rights does not end at national borders and is intimately connected with the struggle for justice for all marginalised and oppressed groups worldwide.

However, it is because of this that we are deeply ashamed that in putting on these events, you have chosen to be sponsored by HSBC.

HSBC invest millions in a range of companies that supply Israel with weapons and technology that is used to violate Palestinian human rights. War on Want’s ‘Deadly Investments’ report uncovered that HSBC invest nearly £100,000,000 in Caterpillar, whose bulldozers are used to destroy Palestinian homes and structures, in contravention of international law. It also includes £69 million of shares in Raytheon, whose weaponry was used by Israel to target civilian homes during its 2014 assault on Gaza. Israel’s aerial bombardment and ground invasion of Gaza in 2014 killed over 2,200 Palestinians, nearly a quarter of them children. The United Nations Independent Commission of Inquiry on the 2014 Gaza conflict found credible allegations that Israel had committed war crimes through its indiscriminate targeting of civilians.

HSBC uses a range of marketing strategies, including sponsoring events such as Birmingham Pride, in an attempt to ‘pinkwash’ its image, obscuring its involvement in Israel’s human rights abuses. By accepting HSBC as a sponsor of your events, you are allowing them to put forward an imageof tolerance and support for human rights, in direct contrast to their role in supporting grave violations of Palestinian human rights.

We join the call of ASWAT – Palestinian feminist center for sexual and gender freedoms, asking you to stand on the right side of history, against all injustice and oppression, and refuse to accept sponsorship from HSBC until they divest from all companies arming Israel.


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