Labour MPs Instructed to Vote Against Banning Hezbollah Terror Group


byVirginia Hale28 Jan 20180

Labour MPs were instructed to block parliamentary efforts to ban Hezbollah entirely because party leaders want to “encourage” the group “down a democratic path”.

The advice was issued by Labour’s Shadow Home Affairs team ahead of a House of Commons debate on the issue, arranged by Labour MP Joan Ryan, with the motion asserting: “Hezbollah declares itself to be one organization without distinguishable political or military wings.”

Only the military wing of the radical Islamic group is currently outlawed in Britain, while all of Hezbollah has been designated a terrorist group by the Arab League, Israel, Canada, and the Netherlands, among others.

The Trump White House last week urged countries across the globe to join in a total ban.

Speaking in the Commons, Ryan called on the government to add Hezbollah’s political wing to the list of banned groups, pointing to the organisation’s “anti-Semitic ideology that seeks the destruction of Israel”.

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But Labour lawmakers were told not to back the motion based on claims it could hinder peace talks in the Middle East, in a leaflet sent before the backbenchers’ debate.

The document, which was seen by the Jewish Chronicle, read: “There is a balance between making absolutely clear our abhorrence of using violence to achieve political ends and at the same time encouraging organisations down an effective democratic path.

“Full proscription could be a move against dialogue and meaningful peace negotiations in the Middle East,” alleged the note from Labour’s shadow Home Affairs team, which is led by Diane Abbott, a long-time ally and alleged former lover of leader Jeremy Corbyn, who in 2009 infamously referred to Hezbollah and the Hamas terror outfit as “friends”.

Abbott has herself expressed sympathy for terrorist groups in the past, supporting the IRA against “the British state” in the 1980s and refusing to say she regretted doing so in 2017.

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Slamming the note, Labour Friends of Israel chief Jennifer Gerber said in a statement it was “sadly unsurprising” that the party’s frontbench would issue a statement on Hezbollah “which makes no reference to its virulent antisemitism, its desire to annihilate Israel and its appalling role in propping up Assad’s murderous regime in Syria.

“It is, moreover, utterly delusional to think that, having wreaked death and destruction throughout the region, Hezbollah can play any role in promoting peace. We would urge Labour’s leadership to listen to this afternoon’s debate and reconsider its position,” she said.

Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan came under fire from members of the capital’s Jewish community in June 2017, for his refusal to ban the anti-Israel al-Quds Day march, an annual event started by the late Iranian religious leader and dictator Ayatollah Khomeini to call for Israel to be destroyed.

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