Feet-dragging politicians should feel ashamed over terror group
THE INEVITABLE anger, disgust and fear surrounding Sunday’s Al Quds Day march were entirely predictable, and entirely avoidable.
For months, senior politicians and police officers — all of whom repeatedly tell our community of their admiration for British Jews and support for our interests — have tossed the issue there and back at each other, scoring cheap points as they go.
They have allowed the matter to flutter around like a terror group’s flag in the wind in an accurate depiction of what we can now expect to see in London this weekend.
The argument sometimes made by police that it is better to allow the rally to go ahead and run to its completion so officers can keep an eye on the worst offenders, jars.
But there are solutions available. The flag aspect need not have been allowed to rumble on endlessly. With such continuous focus since last year’s Al Quds Day, it is a travesty that action has not already been taken to quash the issue.
The government could look to change the law, ban Hezbollah in its entirety and move on. That would kill two birds with one stone, ending the embarrassing distinction between the group’s supposed political and military wings and ensure the flags are furled too.
But we already know that won’t happen. January’s House of Commons debate on proscription, and the political machinations surrounding it, were utterly depressing.
Ben Wallace, the Security Minister, boasted of how the status quo “maintains a balance” and allows Britain to deal with the Lebanese government, while not seeming to accept the irony of simultaneously finding Hezbollah’s beliefs “disgusting”.
Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labour’s Shadow Minister for Security, took the same line, praising the supposed equilibrium between “making absolutely clear our abhorrence at the use of violence to achieve political ends and, at the same time, seeking to facilitate and encourage solutions to conflict through participation in the democratic process”.
The testy exchanges in Parliament came on the back of the JC revealing Labour MPs had been urged not to back a full ban, despite one of the party’s own backbenchers — Joan Ryan, the Labour Friends of Israel chair – moving the motion. A leaked Labour briefing note made clear the opposition preferred to “encourage” the terror group “down an effective democratic path”.
That path leads to Sunday, and the likely scenes of Jew-baiting.
Hezbollah: backed by Iran, deeply antisemitic, hell-bent on the destruction of Israel, and celebrated on the streets of our capital city, free from even the slightest threat of police action or criminal prosecution.
The failure to deal with the problem shames politicians of all parties.