Labour MP sparks row by inviting representative of Houthis to Parliament

Labour MP sparks row by inviting representative of Houthis to Parliament

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

Lloyd Russell-Moyle
Lloyd Russell-Moyle

A Labour MP has sparked controversy by inviting to Parliament a leading spokesperson for the “antisemitic” Houthi movement.

Brighton MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle is to host Ahmed Alshami at a Stop the War Coalition meeting in the Commons on Tuesday, The Sun reported.

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.”

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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