LATE ON Tuesday, Parliament passed without a vote a motion from the Tory home secretary, Sajid Javid, proscribing Hezbollah, which he claimed was a terrorist organisation.
The military wing of Hezbollah has been banned since 2008 in the UK but this new ban will extend to the political wing of the Lebanese group founded in 1982 to fight the brutal and illegal occupation of southern Lebanon by Israel.
Hezbollah’s heroic fight against the Israeli occupation forced the withdrawal of its forces in 2000 and the group emerged as a leading political party in the Lebanon.
In 2006, Israel launched a major military offensive against Hezbollah which led to a 34-day war in which more than 1,000 Lebanese were killed. Hezbollah fought the Israeli Defence Forces to a standstill, forcing the Israelis once again to retreat.
If defeating the might of Israel twice and its unstinting support for the struggle of the Palestinian people wasn’t enough to earn the hatred of the imperialist powers, then the role of Hezbollah fighters standing alongside the Syrian army in the successful struggle against imperialism’s allies in ISIS and al Nusra jihadist groups has only intensified this hatred.
Javid made this clear when he announced the ban, saying that Hezbollah was ‘continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East’ and that he would ban ‘any terrorist organisation which threatens our safety and security, whatever their motivations or ideology’. He added that the group was ‘committed to armed resistance to the state of Israel’.
Resistance to illegal occupation and support for the rights of Palestinians to their own land and for their own state is, according to Javid, ‘terrorism’.
It was not Hezbollah which invaded Lebanon: the crime was to resist and defeat the occupiers. Equally, it was not Hezbollah who invaded Iraq or bombed Libya into the ground
Nor was it Hezbollah that created the conditions and then encouraged and financed the murderous jihadist groups which were then used to do imperialism’s dirty work in Syria and carry out regime change.
These acts of terrorism were carried out by the imperialist powers along with their allies in Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States.
Now that parliament has proscribed all wings of Hezbollah as terrorist, anyone in Britain who is a member or who solicits support for the organisation is liable to criminal prosecution and a jail sentence of up to 10 years.
When Javid announced his proposed ban, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn questioned what new evidence the government had to suddenly proscribe the political wing of Hezbollah, saying there was not sufficient evidence that it fell foul of the proscription criteria.
Even these reservations by the Labour Party disappeared when it came to the vote, with Labour’s shadow home office minister Nick Thomas-Symonds saying they would not be opposing the motion, leading to it being passed without any vote.
Even this cowardly silence wasn’t enough for some Labour right-wingers who insisted it wasn’t good enough simply not to oppose but that Labour leaders should make clear their complete hatred of Hezbollah.
Labour’s right-wing had Jeremy Corbyn in their sights by ramping up accusations that he is an anti-Semite and friend of terrorists, because in the past Corbyn had voiced guarded support for ‘dialogue’ with Hezbollah.
This attempt at ‘guilt by association’ seeks to brand Corbyn and anyone else who doesn’t slavishly support Israel as terrorist sympathisers who should be banned and possibly even jailed.
While Corbyn is ditching every principle in order to keep the Labour right-wing from splitting, they are determined to use every lying accusation of supporting terrorism and anti-Semitism to dump Corbyn, split the Labour Party and forge a cross-party alliance to carry out a parliamentary coup to renege on the overwhelming vote by workers for Brexit.
The issue today is for the working class to intervene and take action to dump the Tories and go forward to a workers government that will break completely with the EU and will give its full support to the struggle of the Palestinian people and all those in the Middle East and across the world who are fighting the real terrorists – world imperialism.