Zionist groups and their supporters are targeting the annual pro-Palestine Al Quds Day rally which is due to take place in London on June 10.
They have urged the London Mayor and the Home Secretary to ban Hezbollah flags at the march, which they say make Jewish communities feel vulnerable and are a symbol of terrorism.
Matthew Offord, MP for Hendon, has written to the new Home Secretary calling on him to proscribe Hezbollah “in its entirety”, after Amber Rudd failed to do so.
Labour MP Louise Ellmann, the vice-chair of Labour Friends of Israel, also wrote to Sajid Javid and to Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Cressida Dick, asking her for clarification on whether Hezbollah flags will be allowed at this year’s demonstration.
Writing to Javid, she said the “flouting” of the law is “an affront to Britain’s commitments to fight extremism and a cause of serious distress to the Jewish community, who have to witness an annual display of support for an organisation which actively seeks their destruction”.
The Israel Britain Alliance (IBA) and its partner organisations have said that the time for “excuses” is over as they called for the rally, organised by the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC), to be stopped. “Occasionally in politics there are absolute rights and wrongs,” said IBA director Michael McCann, a former MP. “Allowing the Al Quds event to go ahead would be a massive mistake.”
And Campaign Against Anti-Semitism and Faith Matters joined in calling on Britain’s Home Secretary to ban the parade because it will include flags of the Lebanese group Hezbollah, the Evening Standard reported.
Writing in the Jewish News, Fiyaz Mughal said: “Problems in the Middle East should not be a driver for the importation of sectarianism, extremism or hatred into the UK and against sections of our communities. This means that people waving flags by groups whose military wings have used terrorism as a weapon, send out a signal of division, hatred and intolerance towards other British citizens, if they are waved on our streets in the United Kingdom.
“We simply cannot have this and whilst the military and political elements of Hezbollah may want to give the impression that they are different, one must be talking and engaging with other, since the two cannot act separately.
“If I may, Home Secretary, I think that you can see the wider picture on this and such flags with AK47’s emblazoned on them, send out a signal of fear to Jewish communities and especially when they are linked to Al-Quds Day. Whilst people have the right to demonstrate and commemorate around historical events that have meaning to them, they do not have the right to wave aggressive symbols of a group that has used terrorism before in the Middle East. Let us not forget that the former envoy for the Archbishop of Canterbury – Terry Waite, was held for 5 years as a hostage by Hezbollah in 1987.”
Al Quds Day was originally called for by the founder of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ayatolllah Khomeini, to show solidarity with the Palestinians during the month of Ramadan.
Hezbollah, which is an Iranian ally, has had a long history of conflict with Tel Aviv, expelling Israel from almost all Lebanese territory in 2000 and again fighting a bloody war with Israel in 2006. In addition to being an armed force, it is also a political party in Lebanon and recently made significant gains in the Lebanese elections.
Currently Britain outlaws the military wing of Hezbollah but recognises its political wing.
The Islamic Human Rights Commission, one of the organisers of the Al Quds Day march, says the authorities should ignore pressure from the Israel lobby and preserve freedom of speech on the streets of London.
IHRC chairman Massoud Shadjareh said: “In Lebanon Hezbollah and their supporters recently took the overwhelming majority of the seats in Parliament and it is very clear that Hezbollah is part and parcel of Lebanese society and the political system. But the argument advanced by the Zionists is really pathetic because it’s like saying that the British flag is used by the army so it’s the Armed Forces flag.”
The Finsbury park mosque killer Darren Osborne originally planned to target last year’s Al Quds march before changing his mind at the last minute. Massoud Shadjareh believes Osborne was radicalised by the media climate of hate surrounding last year’s march.
“What I’m concerned about is the demonisation by the Zionists which is then picked up by their colleagues in the extreme right and then amplified and then individuals like Osborne are radicalised and they behave badly.”
This year’s Al Quds march in London will take place on June 10 and will start in front of the Saudi embassy in London because of Riyadh’s growing relationship with Tel Aviv. Marchers will then proceed to the Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing St.