The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has finally decided to add his voice to the growing clamour to proscribe Hizballah in its entirety under the Terrorism Act 2000.
Whilst the British government has proscribed the “military wing” of Hizballah under the Terrorism Act 2000, the “political wing” is not proscribed, something that even Hizballah finds ridiculous. In October 2012, Hizballah Deputy Secretary-General, Naim Qassem, said: “We don’t have a military wing and a political one; we don’t have Hizballah on one hand and the resistance party on the other…Every element of Hizballah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, are in the service of the resistance, and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has long led calls for Hizballah to be proscribed in its entirety by the Home Secretary.
Hizballah seeks the annihilation of all Jews worldwide and has committed acts of terror from Bangkok to Buenos Aires to Burgas, yet on 18th June, hundreds of its supporters were permitted to march through central London for the annual “Al Quds Day” pro-Hizballah show of force. Our lawyers are reviewing evidence from the march, which the Metropolitan Police Service allowed to go ahead, even closing major roads and moving anti-terrorism demonstrators out of the way.
In a letter to London Assembly Member Andrew Dismore, Mr Khan said: “I share the concerns of the Jewish community about support shown for Hezbollah, which is an illegal, proscribed and antisemitic organisation. Antisemitism or hate crime of any kind has no place in our city, where we don’t just tolerate diversity, we respect and celebrate it. I remain in contact with the [Metropolitan Police Service] 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. I will continue to work with the [Metropolitan Police Service] and communities across the capital to do everything in my power to crack down on extremism and ensure London’s Jewish communities feel safe and secure in London.”
Two weeks ago, Mr Khan grew angry and lost his temper during a session of Mayor’s Question Time at the London Assembly. One by one, Assembly Members David Kurten of UKIP, Andrew Dismore of Labour, and Andrew Boff of the Conservatives had asked the Mayor whether he would join calls for the Home Secretary to proscribe the whole of Hizballah. The Mayor however refused to be pressed on whether he would back such calls with his own letter to the Home Secretary, repeatedly insisting that he needed to see more evidence, and even that the best thing for him to do would be to obtain more funding for the Metropolitan Police Service, despite the police refusing to take any action until the whole of Hizballah is proscribed. When Assembly Member Andrew Boff demanded clarity on whether the Mayor will write to the Home Secretary, the Mayor lost his temper, refusing to confirm what he would do and instead resorting to astonishing playground taunts.
We welcome this turnaround by the Mayor.