British Labour Party opposes call for blanket ban on Hezbollah

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn in London after the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union, June 24, 2016. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, seen in London, on June 24, 2016, described Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends” in 2009. (Rob Stothard/Getty Images)

(JTA) – 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 Jewish Chronicle reported.

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 circular sent to lawmakers Thursday suggests banning the group in its entirety “could be a move against dialogue and meaningful peace negotiations in the Middle East,” the Chronicle reported.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, a left-wing politician who has called for a boycott of Israeli settlement goods, in 2009 described Hamas and Hezbollah as his “friends.” He later said he regretted it amid scrutiny in the media of claims that his 2015 election as party leader encouraged a proliferation of anti-Semitism in the party’s ranks.

Hezbollah is regarded as a terrorist organization by Canada and the United States and is believed by Western intelligence agencies to have been involved in the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community centre in Argentina, among other terrorist attacks. In 2006 it fired thousands of rockets into Israeli population centres.


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