Feet-drag­ging politi­cians should feel ashamed over ter­ror group

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS -

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.

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