Britain said on Monday it would ban the Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah in its entirety after Home Secretary Sajid Javid says authorities can no longer distinguish between the group’s military and political wings, Reuters reported.
Hezbollah’s leaders have said on numerous occasions that while some Western governments separate between the two fractions of the group, the organization explicitly rejects such distinction.
“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” Home Secretary (interior minister) Sajid Javid said.
“Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety,” he added in a statement.
Javid, a staunch ally of the Jewish community, is acting upon an assessment by the Home Office, which says Hezbollah “is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel and aims to seize all Palestinian territories and Jerusalem from Israel.” The Home Secretary is believed to also have received support for his decision from Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt. The minister labeled Hezbollah an “outrageous, disgusting” organization.
A draft of the bill will be laid in parliament on Monday and, if approved, will go into force on Friday. Under the new law, anyone who is a member of Hezbollah or invites support will be committing a criminal offense with a potential sentence of up to 10 years in prison.
Britain proscribed Hezbollah’s external security unit and its military wing in 2001 and 2008, respectively, but fell short of outlawing the entire organization. The false distinction has allowed protesters at anti-Israel and pro-Iran rallies around Britain to wave the rifle-emblazoned yellow Hezbollah flag openly.
In an op-ed published in the Tower after the 2017 annual Al Quds March in London, TIP Senior Fellow, Julie Lenarz, wrote: “While Hezbollah sympathizers marched through the streets without interruption, police demanded that anti-terrorist protesters move out of the way. The extremists were rewarded. The terrified public punished. Evidence of a truly broken moral compass.”
Meanwhile, Shaun Bailey, the Conservative Party’s frontrunner to oust Labour’s Sadiq Khan in the 2020 London mayoral election said stopping the annual Al Quds Day March would be a priority should he take over at City Hall.
Bailey observed: “I don’t see personally the distance between the two wings of that party.
“They to me seem the same thing. If you ban one half it seems bizarre not to ban the other.” Asked if banning the march would be a priority, he said: “Yes. You just ban it.”
Bailey also spoke of the “privilege” of visiting Israel. “When I went to Israel I had an absolute ball. It was a real eye-opener for me. I met a wide-range of Israeli people and I remember coming back to London and having those experiences to swap with the Jewish community.” On the anti-Semitism scandal that has engulfed the Labour Party, Bailey said: “As a black person, I fully understand prejudice and racism in a personal way.”
[Photo: Israel Advocacy Movement / YouTube ]