It is a genuine pleasure to follow my hon. Friend Mike Gapes. He is still very much my friend and he is one of the most honourable people I have had the privilege to know. There is a long and proud tradition—a strong, proud social democratic tradition—in the Labour party of confronting and facing down murderous, hateful ideology, and I deeply regret that that proud tradition has not found expression at the Opposition Front Bench Dispatch Box this evening. But it will find expression on the Back Benches: I am here to support the Government unequivocally and without hesitation, not simply because I have to go back to my constituency and look in the eye the people who sent me here, but because when I go home this evening, I have to be able to look at myself in the mirror, too.
There is no doubt about what the Government seek to ban and confront in the motion. Hezbollah makes no distinction between its political and military wings and it is farcical that this Government and this country, for too long, has drawn such a distinction. We have already heard the words of the deputy secretary general of Hezbollah, Naim Qassem, but let us hear some more. He said that
“the history of Jews has proven that, regardless of the Zionist proposal, they are people who are evil in their ideas”.
Hassan Nasrallah said
“God imprinted blasphemy on the Jews’
“If we searched the entire world for a person more cowardly, despicable, weak and feeble in psyche, mind, ideology and religion, we would not find anyone like the Jew. Notice, I do not say the Israeli.”
That is what we are up against—that sort of stomach-turning antisemitism. It is the sort of conduct, I am afraid, that in the Labour party gets you a reminder of conduct letter these days, but some of us will not be bystanders to Jew hatred.
Let us look at Hezbollah’s murderous terrorism—the slaughter of innocent people around the world. There is no doubt that Hezbollah is a violent, murderous, barbaric cult and of course, it is right that the Government have therefore taken this decision. It is not just about the operations that it has mounted in its own country.