British Labour Party Advises Against Outright Ban of Hezbollah

Undercutting the request of of their own party member, Britain's Labour Party distribute leaflet calling to block ban

Britain's opposition Labour Party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, speaks at a rally in central London, Britain January 25, 2018
PETER NICHOLLS (Reuters)

Britain’s Labour party advised its members to block an effort in parliament to ban Hezbollah entirely.

The House of Commons planned to debate the issue Thursday at the request of Joan Ryan, a Labour lawmaker and chair of the party’s Friends of Israel group.

The United Kingdom, like the European Union, outlaws contacts with Hezbollah’s military wing but not its political wing.

The motion to be debated asserts that “Hezbollah declares itself to be one organization without distinguishable political or military wings.”

A Labour Party leaflet sent to lawmakers on Thursday suggested that banning Hezbollah entirely “could be a move against dialogue and meaningful peace negotiations in the Middle East."

Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn has described himself in 2009 as a "friend" of Hamas and Hezbollah. He later regretted the statement amid scrutiny in the media, when claims arose that his election as party leader in 2015 encouraged a proliferation of anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks.

Hezbollah is believed by Western intelligence agencies to have been involved in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina, among other terrorist attacks. In 2006 it fired thousands of rockets into Israeli population centers.