Hodge urges MP to reconsider invitation of figure from ‘sickening’ Houthi group

Hodge urges MP to reconsider invitation of figure from ‘sickening’ Houthi group

The Iran-backed group's slogan calls for 'death to Israel' and 'curse on the Jews'

Dame Margaret Hodge. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire
Dame Margaret Hodge. Photo credit: Yui Mok/PA Wire

Dame Margaret Hodge has urged Lloyd Russell-Moyle to reconsider his invitation of a leading spokesperson for the “antisemitic” Houthi movement to Parliament.

The Labour MP hit out at plans by her colleague to host Ahmed Alshami at a Stop the War Coalition meeting in the Commons on Tuesday, which were first reported by The Sun.

Alshami is an international spokesman for the Iran-backed Houthi movement as well as the executive director of the Arabian Rights Watch Association.

The Houthis’ rallying cry, also known as the sarkha, calls for the destruction of the only Jewish state and a “curse on Jews”.

It states “God is great, death to America, death to Israel, curse on the Jews, victory to Islam.”

Margaret Hodge told Jewish News: “The antisemitic language and actions of the Houthi group, who will be represented at this event, are sickening.

“Inviting an organisation whose slogan states ‘death to Israel, curse the Jews’ to Parliament will do nothing to reassure the Jewish community that Labour takes the fight against antisemitism seriously.

“Lloyd Russell-Moyle should think again.”

Russell-Moyle tweeted that he disagreed with Alshami’s views, but supported efforts to bring peace to Yemen and encourage dialogue in the region.

The move, which comes on the heels of Moyle’s Twitter spat with the Jewish MP Dame Margaret Hodge over Labour’s antisemitism row, drew criticism from community leaders.

Among them, the Jewish Leadership Council said: “The Houthis drove the Jews of Yemen out of their homes, destroying the ancient community. The Houthi flag and slogan says ‘a curse on the Jews.’

“Peace in Yemen is vital, but nobody should roll out the red carpet for a Houthi spokesperson without challenging his antisemitism.”

Meanwhile, Jennifer Gerber, director of Labour Friends of Israel, described the invitation as “utterly appalling”.

She said: “It is utterly appalling that a Labour MP would host in parliament the mouthpiece of a violent, Iranian-backed terror group which preaches hatred against Jews and the state of Israel.

“In the fight against antisemitism in the Labour party, there are only two sides and Lloyd Russell-Moyle has again shamefully chosen to ally himself with those who defend and propagate anti-Jewish racism.”

Board of Deputies Vice President Amanda Bowman described the event as “utterly unacceptable”.

She said: “Hosting an organisation in the Houses of Parliament whose official slogan includes the phrase ‘death to Israel, curse the Jews’ is utterly unacceptable. Lloyd Russell-Moyle should immediately disavow his support for this event.”

Russell-Moyle has been approached for comment.

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