The Labour leadership is challenging the decision of the Home Office to ban the terrorist group Hezbollah. Shockingly, it is calling on Sajid Javid to prove the validity of the ban and accuses the Home Secretary of banning the group because of “leadership ambitions”.

It was announced this week that Hezbollah was to be added to the list of proscribed terrorist organisations in the United Kingdom, with Home Secretary Sajid Javid releasing a statement on Monday and set to officially announce it in parliament today.

A terrorist group being banned is a good thing in the eyes of most British people. However, the Labour leadership could not let it go without raising a challenge to the decision.

A Labour Party spokesperson said:

“The Home Office has previously ruled that there was not sufficient evidence that the political wing of Hezbollah fell foul of proscription criteria, a position confirmed by ministers in the House of Commons last year.”

“Ministers have not yet provided any clear evidence to suggest this has changed.”

“It has also rightly been the view of the Foreign Office for many years that proscribing the political wing of Hezbollah, which is part of the democratically elected Lebanese government, would make it difficult to maintain normal diplomatic relations with Lebanon, or to work with the government on humanitarian issues, including those facing Syrian refugees, in parts of the country controlled by Hezbollah.”

“Decisions on the proscription of organisations as terror groups are supposed to be made on the advice of civil servants based on clear evidence that those organisations fall foul of the proscription criteria set out in legislation.”

“The Home Secretary must therefore now demonstrate that this decision was taken in an objective and impartial way, and driven by clear and new evidence, not by his leadership ambitions.”

“We support the government in its decision to proscribe the groups Jamaat Nusrat al Islam Wall Muslimin and Ansaroul Islam.”

It is important to point out that there is no “political wing” of Hezbollah, this is a fallacy created by British politicians and not recognised by Hezbollah themselves (see here).

The argument that Labour seems to be taking is that the terrorist group Hezbollah is part of the Lebanese government. It is true that Hezbollah has now become part of the Lebanese government. However, that does not mean the UK should not ban a terrorist organisation. This is a group that actively works towards destroying Israel, a close ally of Britain, and has carried out terror attacks against Jews on European soil and has extensive links to criminal activity in the UK.

Labour should really be questioning whether we maintain diplomatic relationships with a country run by a terrorist organisation. Not defending the terrorists.

You will also notice that Labour is not questioning the banning of two other organisations, even though Hezbollah is far more dangerous than both of them combined.

Unfortunately, this is not something new from the current Labour leadership. We all know that Jeremy Corbyn has in the past called Hamas and Hezbollah his “friends”. He also said at that time that it was a “big, big historic mistake” that the UK had banned Hamas, the terrorist group in Gaza. So it is not too far to think that Corbyn also considers the banning of Hezbollah to be a “mistake”.

This week the Daily Mail ran a story linking Jeremy Corbyn with Seamus Milne, someone who is said to be the “brain” behind Corbyn and a senior figure behind the scenes of Labour.

Mr Milne has in the past spoke out against the US banning of Hezbollah saying, “the US brands Hezbollah … as a terrorist organisation without serious justification.” Unfortunately, it seems that too many at the top of Labour have cosied up to terrorist groups to the point where they will defend their right to operate in the UK, whilst ignoring the atrocities they commit, including the killing of innocent people.

Fortunately, this vote is unlikely to make a difference. The Home Office has already announced that Hezbollah is banned in the UK. That is not going to change. No matter how friendly they are with Corbyn.

Yesterday’s Announcement

Sajid Javid confirmed in a statement on Monday afternoon that Hezbollah would be banned in full.

CUFI led calls for the outright banning of Hezbollah, with more than 20,000 people signing a CUFI UK petition calling for the ban with thousands more CUFI supporters writing to the Government.

We believed that calling for the banning of the Hezbollah flag just wasn’t enough. That is why two years ago, CUFI decided it was necessary to go even further and call to make the organisation itself illegal in the UK.

Thank you to everyone who rallied to the call, signed the petition, wrote to the Government and prayed that this terror group would finally be outlawed.

Until now, Britain had only banned its “military” arm but not its “political” wing meaning there was a legal loophole currently allowing support for the organisation to grow. However, Hezbollah, by its own admission, does not differentiate between its political and military wings.

Home Secretary Sajid Javid said in a statement:

“My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people. As part of this, we identify and ban any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology which is why I am taking action against several organisations today.”

“Hizballah is continuing in its attempts to destabilase the fragile situation in the Middle East – and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party. Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”

Hezbollah calls for an Islamist revolution around the world, has carried out terror attacks for over 30 years, and calls for the “liberation of Jerusalem” and for the destruction of Israel. Backed by Iran, it has tens of thousands of rockets that can reach every city in Israel. Could this news indicate a change of stance by the British government towards Iran?

In the past, the Home Office says Hezbollah “is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel and aims to seize all Palestinian territories and Jerusalem from Israel,” and “its military wing supports terrorism in Iraq and the Palestinian territories.”

Mr Javid is understood to have received strong backing for his decision to certify Hezbollah as an illegal terrorist organisation from new Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Today Hunt said, “We are staunch supporters of a stable and prosperous Lebanon. We cannot, however, be complacent when it comes to terrorism – it is clear the distinction between Hizballah’s military and political wings does not exist, and by proscribing Hizballah in all its forms, the government is sending a clear signal that its destabilising activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security. This does not change our ongoing commitment to Lebanon, with whom we have a broad and strong relationship.”

Along with Hezbollah, two more terror organisations were banned. The other two were Ansaroul Islam, in northern Burkina Faso, and JNIM, an Al-Qaeda aligned group in Mali.

The ban will come into force tomorrow (Tuesday 26 February), with the Home Office saying, “decisions about proscribing or extending the proscription of a particular organisation are taken after extensive consideration and in light of a full assessment of available information.”

There are currently 74 international terrorist organisations proscribed under the Terrorism Act 2000, alongside 14 organisations connected to Northern Ireland proscribed under separate legislation.

Regarding Hezbollah, the Home Office said, “The government has taken the decision to proscribe Hizballah in its entirety on the basis that it is no longer tenable to distinguish between the military and political wings of Hizballah.”

“Hizballah was established during the Lebanese civil war and is committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel. It continues to amass weapons in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions, putting the security of the region at risk. Its involvement in the Syrian war since 2012 continues to prolong the conflict and the regime’s brutal and violent repression of the Syrian people,” it continued.

It will now be illegal for anyone to fly the Hezbollah flag on the streets of Britain – something that has been seen in London every year at the anti-Semitic Al Quds march. The order will make it a criminal offence to be a member, or invite support for Hezbollah, and will carry a sentence of up to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Over the past three years, CUFI UK has led the calls to ban Hezbollah in the UK. We have more recently launched Operation Mordecai which is CUFI UK’s strategic plan to highlight the threat from Iran to Israel and the West.

The on-going campaign involves a number of actions on wide-ranging issues relating to Iran, but its primary aim is to ensure Britain positions itself on the right side of history by defending Israel against the tyrannous Iranian regime.

Operation Mordecai takes inspiration from the Biblical account of Esther’s cousin, Mordecai, whom having heard of the plot to annihilate the Jews, sought the Lord, warned about what was planned and took action. Please see below for more details about this campaign and how you can get involved.

Christians United for Israel UK