Britain to discuss full Hezbollah ban

British House of Commons to discuss a ban on Hezbollah that also includes its so-called "political wing".

Elad Benari,

British parliament
British parliament

The British House of Commons will discuss a full ban on Hezbollah on January 25, thanks to the efforts of Labour Friends of Israel (LFI).

In a statement, LFI said that its chair, Joan Ryan, has secured the cross-party parliamentary debate on the proscription of Hezbollah.

A loophole in the current British law blacklists only Hezbollah’s “military wing” and not its so-called “political wing”.

“LFI has long called for the complete proscription of the terrorist group Hezbollah,” said LFI. “The UK’s distinction is not one that Hezbollah itself recognizes. Its deputy secretary general, Naim Qassem, stated in 2009 that the ‘same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.’”

“This false distinction means that Hezbollah flags can be flown on the streets of Britain. This is most notably seen in London during the annual Al Quds Day parade. Last June, LFI vice-chair Louise Ellman wrote to the home secretary, Amber Rudd, calling for Hezbollah’s proscription as well as asking London mayor Sadiq Khan to review the policing of the event. In November, she met with the Metropolitan Police to discuss our concerns,” added the group in a statement.

Jennifer Gerber, director of LFI, added, “Hezbollah is a terrorist organization, driven by an anti-Semitic ideology, which seeks the destruction of Israel. The British government has repeatedly failed to take action to ban it in its entirety. This debate is intended to increase the pressure on them to do so without further delay and excuses.”

Khan, as well as other figures from the political system, urged Rudd to fully ban Hezbollah this past summer.

Nick Hurd, the British Police Minister, subsequently cast doubt on the likelihood that a full ban would be imposed on the Lebanon-based terror group.

In 2013, the European Union similarly blacklisted Hezbollah's “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.

In contrast, several Arab countries have blacklisted the Hezbollah organization in its entirety. Bahrain in April of 2013 became the first Arab country to blacklist the group as a terrorist organization.

Members of Congress in the United States have urged the EU to designate all branches of Hezbollah as a terror group – a demand which makes sense given that Hezbollah parliamentarians have been caught on camera calling for terror against Israelis.