HM Treasury has today announced that it is designating the entirety of Hizballah as a terrorist organisation under the UK’s terrorism and terrorist financing rules.
Last year, following a gruelling effort over several years by Campaign Against Antisemitism and our allies, Hizballah was finally proscribed completely by the then-Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, with the support of the then-Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt. Ensuring that the Government completely proscribes Hizballah has been an important objective for Campaign Against Antisemitism since our charity was established.
Previously, the British Government distinguished between Hizballah’s “military wing” and “political wing”, even though Hizballah mocked the Government and said that no such distinction exists. The loophole enabled brazen shows of support for Hizballah, including pro-Hizballah parades through central London which were organised by a registered charity, and fundraising and even recruitment for any supposedly non-military activities conducted by Hizballah were permitted in Britain. It was extremely likely that such funds were used to finance terrorist activity, and could even have been used to target British subjects.
We even launched a private prosecution against the leader of the parades who in 2017 claimed that “Zionists” had paid the Government to burn down tower blocks, days after the horrifying Grenfell Tower inferno, but our private prosecution was successfully taken over and shut down by the Crown Prosecution Service, despite the best efforts of our lawyers.
Now, with Mr Javid as Chancellor of the Exchequer, HM Treasury has today announced that the financing of any Hizballah activity will be proscribed under terrorist financing rules.
During our campaigning work against Hizballah, we gained the support of figures from the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, a former Downing Street Chief of Staff to a prominent Muslim leader. Their voices were strengthened by calls from the Mayor of London and others, but the Government repeatedly proved unyielding.
Whilst the British Government has acted to end a long and shameful betrayal of British Jews, some have called for even greater leniency. Jeremy Corbyn, who famously called Hizballah his “friends”, even argued for the lifting of any restrictions on the group in the UK and spoke at numerous pro-Hizballah parades. One branch of the Labour Party even debated whether members of Hizballah should be allowed to join the Party.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We are delighted that our ongoing efforts to ensure the full proscription of all antisemitic genocidal terrorist groups, including Hizballah, continue to bear fruit. Hizballah’s allies in the UK will now find it even harder to help finance the illegal operations of the group. We now call on the Government to keep up the momentum and ban the terrorist group Hamas in its entirety as well.”