(JTA) — London’s Muslim mayor wants Great Britain to make support for all factions of Hezbollah illegal.
Sadiq Khan said in a statement Thursday that he plans to write to the Home secretary and request that she outlaw support for the political wing of Hezbollah, the Jewish Chronicle reported. Support for the terrorist wing of the the Lebanon-based militia and Iranian ally is already banned in England.
“I share the concerns of the Jewish community about support shown for Hezbollah, which is an illegal, proscribed and antisemitic organisation,” Khan said in his statement. “Antisemitism or hate crime of any kind has no place in our city, where we don’t just tolerate diversity, we respect and celebrate it.”
Khan’s statement came two weeks after marchers waved Hezbollah flags during the annual pro-Palestinian Al-Quds Day parade in London and blamed “Zionists” for the deadly Grenfell Tower fire a few days earlier. Political figures, mostly on the right, criticized Khan, a Labour Party member, for allowing the march to go on and called on him to support a ban on Hezbollah’s political wing.
The Board of Deputies of British Jews welcomed Khan’s announcement.
“This is a welcome step by the mayor which is fully supported by the Board of Deputies,” said Marie van der Zyl, its vice president. “Hezbollah itself does not distinguish between its military and political wing, which is one and the same. The government urgently needs to follow the example of the USA, Canada and the Arab League by outlawing Hezbollah in its entirety.”
Khan, who was elected in May 2016 as the first Muslim mayor of London, began his term by calling for anti-Semitism to be rooted out of the city and the Labour Party.