Home Secretary Sajid Javid is set to use the Conservative Party conference to announce the full proscription of Hezbollah – not just its ‘armed wing’ – after Jewish representatives spent months calling for action.
Jewish News has spearheaded the campaign against the UK’s nonsensical stance of deeming only part of the militia unacceptable, which has until now allowed anti-Israel protesters to fly to flag of Hezbollah on Britain’s streets.
Javid is understood to have received backing for the full proscription of Hezbollah from new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, the JC reported, and the announcement that the government will extend its proscription to the whole group will be made at the party conference next wee.
The news follows a concerted effort by groups such as the Zionist Federation, the Board of Deputies, Jewish Leadership Council, Community Security Trust and the Israel Britain Alliance to change government thinking on this issue.
Javid’s announcement will come as a relief to Israel’s supporters throughout the country and end the sight of Hezbollah flags being openly and legally flown at the annual Al-Quds Day Rally through central London.
In January, Labour Friends of Israel chair Joan Ryan MP led a parliamentary debate on the full proscription of Hezbollah. She noted public backing for an extension to include the group’s political wing, citing a recent ComRes poll for Jewish News, which found that 81 percent of those surveyed said they would like to see the whole group banned.
In 2001 the UK Government proscribed part of Hezbollah’s External Security Organisation, part of its armed wing. In 2008 this was extended to include the whole wing, including Hezbollah’s Jihad Council.
Since then, diplomats have argued that the group’s political wing should not be proscribed as a terrorist outfit, in part because Hezbollah now forms part of the Lebanese government, but Jewish representatives say Hezbollah chiefs themselves draw no distinction between the different parts of their organisation.
Jennifer Gerber, Labour Friends of Israel’s director, said: “Assuming the government does finally listen and proscribes Hezbollah in its entirety, this is a huge victory for LFI’s long-running campaign against this antisemitic terror group. LFI MPs have led this fight in parliament over many years, most prominently through Joan Ryan’s parliamentary debate in January. This apparent change of heart by the government is the right decision and sends a clear message that antisemites who seek Israel’s destruction are not welcome in Britain.”
Vladimir Sloutsker, President of The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC) commented that the “decision is long overdue, but it is just, right and proper, in the face of overwhelming evidence regarding the group’s terrorist activities, which are unmistakably led, run and funded by the regime of Iran, posing not only a direct threat to the State of Israel, but Europe and the region as a whole.”
“We hope that others in Europe follow the UK’s lead in once and for all banning this terrorist organisation in full.”
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