ANGER AHEAD OF AL QUDS RALLY
COMMUNAL ANGER over this weekend’s Al Quds Day parade in central London has intensified after police chiefs insisted they were powerless to stop Hezbollah flags being raised on the annual march — and it was revealed that a notorious anti-Israel conspiracy theorist had been given a platform to speak.
Simon Johnson, Jewish Leadership Council chief executive, said the rally was a “slap in the face” for British Jews, and the Board of Deputies described the event as a “hate-fest” that glorified terrorism.
Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, confirmed he had written to Sajid Javid, the Home Secretary, asking him to close a legal loophole which is exploited to allow the terror group’s flag to be waved on political grounds.
Only the military wing of the Iranian-backed organisation is proscribed in Britain.
At last year’s Al Quds rally, a parade leader openly called for Israel’s annihilation and blamed the Grenfell fire tragedy on “Zionists”.
Hundreds of protesters from the community are expected to join a ‘Stand Against Hate, Stand Against Hezbollah’ counter-demonstration on Sunday afternoon outside the Saudi Arabian embassy to show their opposition.
Mr Johnson said: “For too many years, we have seen Hezbollah flags flown at the Al Quds
Day march, despite repeated Jewish communal objections and protests.
“Hezbollah is an antisemitic terrorist organisation that is responsible for the murder of Jewish people around the world.
“As such, the triumphant waving of Hezbollah flags at the march is a slap in the face for the Jewish community. “It is an annual hate fest, which is no more than a smokescreen for hatred and antisemitism and it is high time the government supported the community’s demand for the full proscription of Hezbollah.”
Marie van der Zyl, new Board of Deputies president, said: “Only weeks after the anniversary of the London Bridge attack, the flag of a terror group, Hezbollah, featuring an image of a machine gun, will be allowed to fly freely.
“We urge the government to take action to ensure that terrorism is not glorified in this way in our capital city.” A spokesman for Mr Khan told the JC: “Sadiq has written to the Home Secretary to raise his deep concerns about the support shown for Hezbollah at the annual Al Quds Day march.
“He has called on him to urgently reconsider his predecessor’s decision not to take action to stop this.”
An online petition urging the government to proscribe Hezbollah in its entirety quickly passed the 10,000 signatures required to force a formal response from the Home Secretary.
The petition, organised by the Campaign Against Antisemitism, said Hezbollah was “a genocidal antisemitic terrorist organisation” whose own deputy general had mocked the distinction between its ‘political’ and ‘armed’ wings.
It also emerged this week that disgraced Reverend Stephen Sizer, who once supported claims Israel was behind the 9/11 terror attacks, is expected to be one of the speakers at the march.
Rev Sizer, who was banned by Church of England authorities from sharing inflammatory material on Israel on social media, will join notorious anti-Zionist Mick Napier, of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, in speaking from the main podium at the demonstration.
Mrs van der Zyl said: “The fact dis-
Hezbollah is a genocidal antisemitic terror group’
graced preacher Stephen Sizer will also be speaking at the rally brings home what a hate-fest this gathering promises to be.”
Police confirmed last week that the flag of the Iranian-backed terror group could be flown at the event because of the non-proscription of the political wing.
A letter sent to Louise Ellman, vicechair of Labour Friends of Israel, said police would allow the controversial flag to be raised because parliament had “consciously chosen” to ban only the military wing — despite the fact the group’s flag is “shared across all elements of that organisation”. Metropolitan Police Commander Jane Conners said in the letter that both she and Commissioner Cressida Dick “share concerns” that the flags “may be construed as belonging to a terrorist organisation”.
In response, Mrs Ellman said: “If we see the machine-gun adorned flag of an antisemitic terror group on London’s streets again this June it will be due to the inaction of the government — they must act now.”
At last year’s parade, Nazim Hussein Ali, a director of the Islamic Human Rights Commission, linked the Grenfell Tower tragedy to “Zionists” and called for Israel’s annihilation.
The Metropolitan Police investigated his conduct following allegations of antisemitic comments, but last December the Crown Prosecution Service said he would not face criminal prosecution.
‘Disgraced’: Reverend Stephen Sizer
The antiIsrael Al Quds Day rally has regularly featured the machine gun flag of Hezbollah