ANGER AHEAD OF AL QUDS RALLY

The Jewish Chronicle - - FRONT PAGE - BY LEE HARPIN PO­LIT­I­CAL EDI­TOR

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.

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES

Sadiq Khan

‘Dis­graced’: Rev­erend Stephen Sizer

PHOTO: PA

The an­tiIs­rael Al Quds Day rally has reg­u­larly fea­tured the ma­chine gun flag of Hezbol­lah

PHOTO: CHRIS MCAN­DREW

Louise Ell­man

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