The British government last week announced it was banning Hezbollah in its entirety in a major victory for LFI’s long-running campaign. Previously, only the military wing of the antisemitic terror group was proscribed in Britain. LFI chair Joan Ryan and vice-chair Dame Louise Ellman have led parliamentary efforts to ban the political wing.
Ms Ryan secured a debate last January which won cross-party support for a total ban. Labour’s frontbench faced heavy criticism in a parliamentary debate on Tuesday after it failed to support home secretary Sajid Javid’s move.
Unequivocally supporting the move in the House of Commons, Ms Ryan stated: “Today’s step is not simply a blow against terrorism and antisemitism; it furthers the cause of peace. Let us be clear that Hezbollah has no desire to be part of any meaningful dialogue or peace process in the middle east. “
Ms Ellman MP added: “Terrorism is abhorrent. Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation. To suggest that it has two separate wings is a fallacy. It is wrong for Hezbollah to operate, kill and maim people and propagate terrorism throughout the world, and that includes what happens here in this country.”
LFI parliamentary supporter Mike Gapes MP stated: “People in this country, as well as in other countries, have to be protected. We are facing a real challenge if we do not recognise the need to have tough but fair security measures for our community as a whole. In Britain today, there are people who are afraid because we are allowing terrorist organisations and their supporters to parade, threaten and challenge.”
Wes Streeting – also an LFI parliamentary supporter – added: “There is no doubt that Hezbollah is a violent, murderous, barbaric cult and of course, it is right that the Government have therefore taken this decision.”
In a parallel debate in the Lords, LFI’s chair in the Lords Baroness Ramsay, stated: “We must accept that it [Hezbollah] is an unacceptable, nasty, anti-Semitic, dangerous terrorist organisation that threatens all our democracies, not just those in the Middle East. It is high time that it was proscribed and I congratulate the Government on doing so.”