Rudd’s sym­pa­thy over Hezbol­lah flag con­cern

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY MAR­CUS DYSCH

HOME SEC­RE­TARY Am­ber Rudd has said she is “sym­pa­thetic” to con­cerns about the fly­ing of flags in sup­port of Hezbol­lah in Bri­tain.

In an ap­par­ent at­tempt to re­as­sure the Jewish com­mu­nity, Ms Rudd said she be­lieved se­nior of­fi­cers from the Metropoli­tan Po­lice were “not ig­nor­ing” the mat­ter.

Ms Rudd has pre­vi­ously been ac­cused of fail­ing to close a le­gal loop­hole which al­lows demon­stra­tions in sup­port of the ter­ror group’s po­lit­i­cal wing, de­spite its mil­i­tary arm be­ing out­lawed.

The po­lit­i­cal row over the flags has raged since last sum­mer when they were flown at the Al Quds Day rally in cen­tral Lon­don.

Sadiq Khan, the Labour Mayor of Lon­don, ac­cused Ms Rudd of fail­ing to act, while politi­cians from Con­ser­va­tive Friends of Israel, Labour Friends of Israel and the Jewish Labour Move­ment all called for an out­right ban of Hezbol­lah.

The po­lice are able to stop protests go­ing ahead if of­fi­cers be­lieve there is a risk of in­cit­ing vi­o­lence or racial ha­tred. In Novem­ber, demon­stra­tors were told not to fly the Hezbol­lah flag at an event re­lat­ing to the cen­te­nary of the Bal­four Dec­la­ra­tion.

Ms Rudd was asked in the House of Com­mons on Mon­day by Oliver Dow­den, the Hertsmere MP, what steps she was tak­ing on the is­sue.

He told Par­lia­ment: “Fly­ing the flag of the po­lit­i­cal wing of the an­ti­semitic ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion Hezbol­lah is provoca­tive, in­cites ex­trem­ism and is deeply of­fen­sive to our Jewish com­mu­nity, but the flag can still be seen fly­ing at events such as the Al Quds day marches in Lon­don.”

In re­sponse, Ms Rudd said: “I am aware of, and very sym­pa­thetic to, the is­sues that my hon­ourable friend has raised.

“I have dis­cussed the mat­ter with As­sis­tant Com­mis­sioner Mark Row­ley, and I know that the po­lice are not ig­nor­ing it.”

She added: “For an of­fence to be com­mit­ted, the con­text and man­ner in which the flag is dis­played must demon­strate that it is specif­i­cally in sup­port of the pro­scribed mil­i­tary wing of the group.” A Com­mons de­bate on a to­tal ban on Hezbol­lah is due to take place later this month.


Am­ber Rudd

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