Former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and other Hamas supporters in the UK will face up to 10 years in prison under a new law to be announced on Friday by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel. Patel is expected to report, as part of her visit to Washington, DC, that her government is set to outlaw Hamas under the country’s Terrorism Act. The new ban will include both the military (the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades) and the political arms of the terror group.
The new bill which will be submitted to Parliament next week, says anyone who “recklessly” supports the group, arranges meetings to abet it, invites others to endorse it, or is ita member will face up to 10 years in prison.
The Home Secretary will say in a speech in Washington on Friday that “Hamas is fundamentally and rabidly anti-Semitic,” and that “Anti-Semitism is an enduring evil which I will never tolerate. Jewish people routinely feel unsafe — at school, in the streets, when they worship, in their homes, and online.”
She will also state that “Hamas has a significant terrorist capability, including access to extensive and sophisticated weaponry, as well as terrorist training facilities, and it has long been involved in significant terrorist violence. But the current listing of Hamas creates an artificial distinction between various parts of the organization – it is right that the listing is updated to reflect this. This is an important step, especially for the Jewish community. If we tolerate extremism, it will erode the rock of security.”
Patel told reporters in DC on Thursday: “We’ve taken the view that we can no longer disaggregate the sort of military and political side. It’s based upon a wide range of intelligence, information and also links to terrorism. The severity of that speaks for itself.”
Back in 2009, then-Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn called Hamas and Hezbollah “friends.” In a testimony he gave in 2016 in an investigation of anti-Semitism within his party, Corbyn said: “The language I used at that meeting was actually here in parliament and it was about encouraging the meeting to go ahead, encouraging there to be a discussion about the peace process.”
When asked if he still thought Hamas and Hezbollah were friends, Corbyn answered, “No. It was the inclusive language I used which with hindsight I would rather not have used. I regret using those words, of course.”
Corbyn also said he regretted comparing Israel to Iran, but that would not land him in jail after the new ban on Hamas takes effect. Saying Hamas are friends of the UK would.
Home Secretary Patel’s paternal grandparents were born in Gujarat, India, and immigrated to Uganda where they ran a convenience store in Kampala. Her parents immigrated to the UK in the 1960s and settled in Hertfordshire, where they established a chain of newsagents in London and the South East of England. Priti was raised as a Hindu. Her father was a candidate for the right-wing UKIP for Hertfordshire in 2013. His daughter became involved in Conservative Party politics in 2005.