Outrage Follows British Government Decision Not to Outlaw Public Shows of Solidarity With Hezbollah
Jonathan Arkush, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, expressed outrage on Tuesday over the UK government’s failure to ban Hezbollah’s “political wing” — thereby allowing open expressions of support for the terrorist group.
Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing,” which carries out acts of terrorism — is illegal in Britain, but the “political” and “social” parts of the group are not, giving backers a loophole that enables them to march in solidarity with the organization and fly its flag in public.
After Jewish groups requested a complete ban on Hezbollah, the organization’s flag was waved at an anti-Israel demonstration in London in June. “There were numerous Hezbollah flags and they were being handed out before the march started,” a pro-Israel counter-protester said.
The recent decision not to end the current exemption for Hezbollah’s “political wing” prompted Arkush to issue an official statement, saying,
If the government is serious about taking measures to combat extremism, it must be made illegal to display the flag of a designated terrorist organization on British streets. There is no distinction between Hezbollah’s so-called military and political wings and it is time that the government ensured that support for any part of any terror organization is treated as a criminal offence. We will be raising this with the Home Secretary.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan also slammed the decision, saying, “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.”
On Sunday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah urged “non-Zionist” Jews to flee Israel so “they are not fuel for any war that the idiotic Netanyahu government takes them to.”