By James Marlow
Home Secretary Amber Rudd is seriously considering the large amount of calls she has received to ban the anti-Israel Al Quds yearly march after a number of MPs voiced their concerns in the House of Commons.
Hendon MP Mathew Offord, who last week wrote an Op-Ed in The Jewish Weekly on the subject, said, “It’s not free speech to make anti-Semitic speeches and fly terrorist flags.” Mr Offord added, “The sooner the Al Quds rally is banned the better it will to be to ensure the Palestinian Authority engage in the search for peace.”
Responding to a question by Newark MP Robert Jenrick in the House, The Home Secretary said she would look into banning the annual demonstration and proscribing the whole of Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation. Right now the British government has proscribed the “military wing” of Hezbollah as a terrorist group under the Terrorism Act 2000, but the “political wing” is not classed as such – which is something that even Hezbollah disagrees with.
In October 2012, the group’s Deputy Secretary-General, Naim Qassem, said, “We don’t have a military wing and a political one. We don’t have Hezbollah on one hand and the resistance party on the other. Every element of Hezbollah, from commanders to members as well as our various capabilities, is in the service of the resistance and we have nothing but the resistance as a priority.”
In addition, the group’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, who said that “If Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide,” is leader of both wings.
Robert Jenrick asked the Home Secretary to take action after explaining that he drove his family past the marchers last weekend and could hear the protest of anti-Semitic chants and see the Hezbollah banners.
“To make a mockery of the law, someone had actually put a post-it note on the flag saying ‘You cannot arrest me because I support the political wing of Hezbollah, not the military wing, this time.’”
He then asked Amber Rudd to take action by never allowing such a march to take place on the streets of London again and ensuring that all of Hezbollah is proscribed as a terrorist organisation.
Responding to Jenrick, Rudd said, “It is always distressing to see that sort of march going on and that sort of provocation that he has just described. It must have been very upsetting for him and his family – I will certainly consider what he’s put, what he’s suggesting, and come to discuss it with him, and if necessary with the House.”