CST welcomes ban of Hizbollah in its entirety
25 February 2019
This morning, the Government announced the ban of terror group, Hizbollah, in its entirety, something CST and other communal partners have long called for. CST previously welcomed the 2001 ban by the UK Government of the “External Security Organisation” and the 2013 ban of Hizbollah’s military wing by the European Union. CST has continued to press the Government to ban the group in its entirety; highlighting the fallacy of the distinction between the military and political wings.
The so-called artificial ‘military wing’ of Hizbollah was previously banned as a Proscribed International Terrorist Organisation, despite the organisation itself considering itself to be, and operating as, a single, indivisible entity. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt re-iterated this point by stating:
“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.”
Every year supporters of the group have been allowed to profess their support and fly the flag of the organisation, with an AK-47 rifle emblazoned it. Al Quds Day is an annual day chosen by the late Ayatollah Khomeini to call for Israel to be destroyed. Quds is the Arabic name for Jerusalem and annually, on Al Quds Day, attendees of the march fly the Hizbollah flag and chant “we are all Hizbollah” without consequences.
CST has long pressed for a full ban of Hizbollah to be enacted. We have joined our Jewish communal partner groups in raising the issue repeatedly at meetings with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and with successive Prime Ministers, as well as with politicians and civil servants. CST strongly believes that Hizbollah’s long documented record of global anti-Jewish and anti-Israel terrorism means that it must be totally outlawed.
In January 2018, in the run-up to the parliamentary debate on whether to ban the group, CST released an influential research briefing, ‘The case against Hizbollah: one party, one flag, one ideology’. The briefing has been widely used as a crucial source of evidence of the fact the group is a single entity which encourages terrorism.
For over 30 years, Hizbollah and Iran, primarily through the Islamic Revolution Guard Corp, have been responsible for anti-Jewish attacks across the globe. From the late 1980s to 2018, they have been involved in almost 30 attacks and plots against Jewish communities and Israeli worldwide. This includes the devastating 1994 attack against the Buenos Aires Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA) headquarters, which killed 85 people, and the attack a day later against a small passenger plane which killed 18 people, including 12 Jews. You can read more about these attacks and other incidents and plots in CST’s ‘The case against Hizbollah: one party, one flag, one ideology’ research briefing.
Announcing the full ban of the terror group, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
“My priority as Home Secretary is to protect the British people…Hizballah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise 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.”
In response to the announcement, leading Jewish groups released a statement. CST’s Chief Executive David S Delew, alongside Marie van der Zyl, President of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Jonathan Goldstein, Chair of the Jewish Leadership Council said in the joint statement:
“We welcome the Home Secretary’s move to proscribe Hizballah in full. The Jewish community, including our organisations and leading community newspapers, have long led the call for this ban…Hizballah was responsible for the deaths of 85 people in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre in Buenos Aires and remains a threat to Jewish communities around the world, launching deadly attacks against civilians in Israel and Bulgaria and planning for attacks in other places such as Cyprus.”
Britain has suffered too much from terrorism for Hizbollah to have been allowed to continue in their semi-legal status, with its supporters free to wave its militaristic flag, complete with an assault rifle, on British streets. CST thanks communal organisation who have joined the campaign to ban Hizbollah, and thanks the Government for taking action to remove them from our streets.