The Home Secretary is today announcing that the antisemitic genocidal terrorist group, Hamas, is to be proscribed in full by the British Government, subject to the consent of Parliament which is not in doubt.
For several months, Campaign Against Antisemitism has been meeting with the Home Secretary and other ministers, calling on the Government to proscribe Hamas, whose ideology and activities are Islamist, nationalist, antisemitic, misogynistic and homophobic. Many also consider the organisation’s militant teachings to be a corruption of Islam.
We also drew up a detailed dossier, which we provided to the Home Secretary and all MPs, making the case for proscription in order to close the loophole in British law that has allowed Hamas to operate in the UK and which was particularly visible during the recent record-breaking surge in antisemitism in Britain during the conflict between Hamas and Israel.
During the campaign, we have worked alongside numerous allies within and outside the Jewish community.
In a major speech today, the Home Secretary will say: “Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly antisemitic. Antisemitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe – at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online. This step will strengthen the case against anyone who waves a Hamas flag in the United Kingdom, an act that is bound to make Jewish people feel unsafe.”
She is also expected to say: “Hamas has significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities, and it has long been involved in significant terrorist violence. But the current listing of Hamas creates an artificial distinction between various parts of the organisation — it is right that the listing is updated to reflect this. This is an important step, especially for the Jewish community. If we tolerate extremism, it will erode the rock of security.”
Until now, the UK has only proscribed the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades — the so-called ‘military wing’ of the terrorist group, leaving the supposed ‘political wing’ free to operate and its supporters at liberty to proselytise. Britain previously relied on the European Union’s proscription of the entirety of Hamas as a de facto ban in the UK, but following the UK’s exit from the European Union, this reliance was no longer tenable.
There is no material distinction between the supposed ‘wings’ of Hamas, which share the same personnel and where political leaders launch military operations. However, because of this loophole, Hamas flags can be flown, its ideology can be promoted, funds can be raised, material can be disseminated, and its representatives can operate in the UK.
Over the years—and particularly in recent months—our Demonstrations and Events Monitoring Unit found evidence of support for Hamas on British streets, and this is undoubtedly tied to the recent surge in domestic antisemitism. Thanks to this proscription, it will now be illegal to display Hamas flags and symbols or finance or publicly support the terror group.
The proscription of the Islamist terrorist group Hizballah in its entirety in 2019 is a fine precedent for this ban of Hamas. Just as the proscription of Hizballah in full, following a long campaign by CAA and others, sent a powerful message to the Jewish community — and Islamists — that antisemitism and terrorism will not be tolerated in the UK, so does the proscription of Hamas, particularly at a time of a record-breaking surge in antisemitism in Britain.
The first ever poll on the subject, conducted by Campaign Against Antisemitism last year, showed that an overwhelming 91% of British Jews want the Government to proscribe Hamas in its entirety.
Gideon Falter, Chief Executive of Campaign Against Antisemitism, said: “We thank the Home Secretary for listening and taking this action to outlaw support for Hamas, which seeks the genocide of all Jews worldwide. Proscription of Hamas in full shows British Jews that the Government stands firm against those who seek to harm us, and it also brings the UK into line with our allies.
“During the recent surge in anti-Jewish racism on British streets we saw numerous examples of people wearing the Hamas emblem and even the Hamas-style headband traditionally worn by its suicide bombers. The Home Secretary’s announcement tells Islamists in this country and abroad in no uncertain terms that antisemitic terror and its supporters have no place in decent society and now they can be prosecuted if they peddle their hatred in Britain. Today is a good day in the fight against antisemitism.”