London Mayor calls for full ban of Hezbollah
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urges British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to fully ban Hezbollah, rather than only its “military wing”.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan urged British Home Secretary Amber Rudd to fully ban the Hezbollah terrorist group, the British Jewish News reported on Thursday.
According to the report, the London Mayor confirmed to Labour London assembly member Andrew Dismore that he’d write to Rudd after flags of the terror group were openly flown during the Al-Quds parade in the capital last month, with police taking no action.
Figures from across the political spectrum have called for a change in the law to blacklist the political wing of Hezbollah, just as the military wing already is.
Hezbollah is banned in full by the U.S., Canada and the Arab League.
The loophole in the law was exposed during the latest parade when organizers pinned disclaimers to the rifle-laden flags stressing specific support for the political wing, noted the Jewish News.
Khan’s intervention comes two weeks after a bad tempered clash between the mayor and Conservative London assembly member Andrew Boff, who repeatedly urged him to write to Rudd on the issue.
The mayor initially refused at the time to commit, saying only he’d assess other representations and make a decision at that point.
On Thursday, Khan said, according to the Jewish Chronicle, “I share the concerns of the Jewish community about support shown for Hezbollah, which is an illegal, proscribed and anti-Semitic organization.”
“Anti-Semitism or hate crime of any kind has no place in our city, where we don’t just tolerate diversity, we respect and celebrate it,” he added.
“I remain in contact with the Met Commissioner about this issue, and will be writing to the Home Secretary to make strong representations on behalf of London’s Jewish communities about their legitimate and understandable concerns,” said Khan.
Conservative and Labour Friends of Israel are among those to have called for the government to blacklist Hezbollah.
Dismore welcomed Khan’s decision on Thursday, saying, “I have spent over a decade campaigning for the complete proscription of Hezbollah, as I believe the distinction made between the ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings to be utterly bogus.”
“I am pleased the Mayor has recognized my work on this and has agreed to write to the Home Secretary. This ban is long overdue,” he added.
In 2013, the European Union blacklisted Hezbollah’s “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.
In contrast, several Arab countries have blacklisted the Hezbollah organization in its entirety. Bahrain in April of 2013 became the first Arab country to blacklist the group as a terrorist organization.
Members of Congress in the United States have urged the EU to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group – a demand which makes sense given that Hezbollah parliamentarians have been caught on camera calling for terror against Israelis.