THE BLOG

Hezbollah Is A Terror Group - Those Flying Their Flag Are Laughing In The Face Of Our Laws

20/06/2017 15:37 BST | Updated 20/06/2017 15:38 BST
Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Sadiq Khan treated the sickening prospect of Hezbollah flags on our streets with the utmost seriousness.

Despite one of the most difficult weeks of his mayoralty - when he's had to contend with the aftermath of the London Bridge outrage and then with the deadly fire at Grenfell Tower - he took time last week to reassure the community he'd heard their concerns over the Al Quds Day march and would raise them with police. I understand he made good on that pledge on Friday, pushing for the full force of the law to come down on anyone in breach.

But therein lies the problem. In this case, it seems, the law is part of the problem.

Only Hezbollah's military wing is proscribed in this country, but absurdly, given its own leaders admit they are one in the same thing, the political wing is not. So no surprise that the organisers of the al Quds hate fest felt emboldened to publish the following directive ahead of the march: "You can bring a Hezbollah flag to show support for the political wing of Hezbollah."

And the marchers took that lead; on flags, banners, draped around young children, the symbol of Hezbollah (featuring, for those unclear about the group's aims, a rifle) littered the streets of London in scenes that shame our city and our country. You can almost hear the organisers laughing at the law. Chuckles which turned to belly laughs when they started openly pinning disclaimers on to rifle-emblazoned flags, seeking to make out support was reserved for the political wing. You couldn't make it up! The flags no more represent backing for one particular element of Hezbollah's 'work' than they did last year, the year before or any year since that well-known peacenik Ayatollah Khomeini introduced Al Quds Day.

Hezbollah's record is as clear as groups who've visited their terror on the UK. It was responsible for some one of the worst terrorist outrages against Jews; killing 85 civilians at a community centre in Argentina 23 years ago and another six in the bombing of a bus filled with Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in 2012. As the group's leader Hassan Nasrallah put it: "If Jews gather on Israel, it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide."

You would have thought that this year, more than ever in wake of the terrorist horrors in Manchester and London, the police would have wanted to show teeth. But officers stood idly by as these symbols of terrorism were hoisted in full view. The flag leaves no room whatever for doubt about what Hezbollah is - but if the law leaves room for interpretation then this legal loophole must be closed.

A year ago, the Jewish News and the Zionist Federation launched a campaign for the flag to be banished from our streets. It's nothing short of a disgrace that such a call must now be repeated. There can no longer be any room for interpretation when it comes to public shows of support for a murderous group that has my family and friends in Israel - and in the UK - in its crosshairs simply for being Jewish.

It should not have required atrocities to be carried out before action was taken to curb hate preachers in this country. And it should not require Hezbollah to commit an atrocity on our shores before its flag invokes the same zero tolerance approach - and utter revulsion - and as that of Isis.

Until that happens, its brazen appearance makes a mockery of our laws and threatens to undermine the vital work of the mayor and government to crack down on anti-Semitism and extremism wherever it rears its ugly head.

As Theresa May said two after London Bridge: enough is enough.