Jewish News campaign to outlaw Hezbollah flags in UK

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Jewish News campaign to outlaw Hezbollah flags in UK

We've teamed up with Zionist Federation to urge the new prime minister to crack down on public displays of support for terror

Justin Cohen is the News Editor at the Jewish News

The striking Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London, 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)
The striking Hezbollah flag during the Al-Quds rally in London, 2016 (Photo credit: Steve Winston)

A campaign has been launched calling on the new prime minister to crack down on any public displays of support for Hezbollah on the streets of the UK.

The Zionist Federation and Jewish News are urging Theresa May and her government to make it clear that any repeat of scenes at the Al Quds Day rally two weeks ago when flags were openly waved on the streets of London will not be tolerated.

As thousands marched their way through central London to protest against Israel, the yellow flag was repeatedly seen, either raised as a standard or worn on clothing – but no arrests were made.

“This is simply unacceptable,” the petition reads. “Hezbollah are an internationally recognised terrorist organisation. They are unashamedly anti-Semitic, reject Israel’s right to exist, and are linked to numerous war crimes and acts of violence against civilians.”

It calls on the government to “make it clear: support for Hezbollah is unacceptable on our streets, and will be treated as a criminal offence”.

When home secretary, May suggested that such acts could fall under Section 13 of the Terrorism Act 2000 and arrests were made during the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu last year. However Jewish News revealed ahead of this year’s Al Quds event that no charges were forthcoming.

The confusion appears to centre on the fact the armed wing of Hezbollah is listed as a terrorist group while the political wing is not, yet the two elements share the same flag. The home office has said “the context and manner in which the flag is displayed must demonstrate that it is specifically in support of the proscribed elements of the group”.

But the petition says: “This fails to take into account that even Hezbollah itself rejects this false dichotomy between its political and military wings. As its foreign policy representative Ammar Moussawi stated in 2013: Everyone knows that Hezbollah’s political and military wings are one and the same.”

“Secondly, it ignores the context in which the flags are used. They are not flown at Al Quds Day and similar events in support of Hezbollah’s political work. They are flown to show support for Hezbollah’s “resistance” – in other words, terrorism. It is direct incitement against both Jews in Israel and Jews here.”

Hezbollah was linked to a terror attack against in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and a bus driver in 2012. An indictment was filed this week against two Lebanese nationals with terrorism for their alleged involvement in the attack.

You can sign the petition here. 




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