Terrorism Act 2000 (Proscribed Organisations) (Amendment) Order 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 12:15 pm on 28th February 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Deech Baroness Deech Crossbench 12:15 pm, 28th February 2019

It is welcome but belated that this order should be passed. While we have listened to the reservations expressed by the Labour Party and the Lib Dems, it remains the fact, as I am sure they will agree, that if more has come out about a situation, and maybe we were misled or not given the full facts a while ago, it is right to take that step now.

Imagine, if you can, an organisation that marched through London and actively promoted an ideology that—forgive my words—black people should be killed and their lands restored to colonialist oppressors. You would have no doubt or hesitation about banning it. Well, a group called National Action did just that, and it was recently banned—so this is not a new move. That organisation said that non-whites and “sub-humans”—which it implied was the right word—should not be tolerated.

The Mayor of London supports this ban. We should be tough on terrorism and the causes of terrorism. There is no division between the political and military wings of Hezbollah. In fact, little stickers saying “We are the political wing” have been put on the flags carried by these people as they march, precisely in order to exploit that. They have said, “Each of us is a combat soldier. The story of ‘military wing’ and ‘political wing’ is the work of the British”.

The right to peaceful protest, which we uphold, does not extend to the violent and the threatening and the racist. Countries with which we have close relations, including Canada, Holland, France, New Zealand and even Bahrain, all ban Hezbollah. This of course will not stop the necessary co-operation with the Lebanon Government.

The organisation that I hope we will ban today fights for Assad. This is not just a Jewish issue, as has been implied. The beliefs that this organisation expresses are a harbinger of what is to come if you are western. The anti-Semitism is the tip of the iceberg. The organisation expresses a group of beliefs that everything western is wrong, everything white is wrong, everything that might be stigmatised as colonialist is wrong, and war must be fought to bring everyone to heel.

Hezbollah has said:

“Until Israel ceases to exist and the last Jew in the world has been eliminated,” it will continue to fight. It has said:

“If Jews all gather in Israel it will save us the trouble of going after them worldwide”.

We cannot possibly go along with allowing such an organisation to march through London.

Hezbollah is a partner to Iran, for which cause it engages in money laundering, arms sales and drugs smuggling. It is implicated in the Yemen disaster. It has prolonged the Syrian conflict. It has carried out attacks all over Europe. Classifying Hezbollah as “terrorist” would stop it using our banks to transfer money around the world. What it does fits precisely Section 3(5) of the Terrorism Act 2000. It has been involved in Iranian-directed bombings that have killed more than 1,000 UK and US servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan. What has changed in the last year is increasing revelation of this and increasing fear. It is by no means a partisan move. I hope that this House will wholeheartedly support the Motion.