On June 22nd, during a meeting at London’s City, Conservative Greater London Assembly member Andrew Boff got increasingly frustrated over what he perceived to be Khan’s “useless” answers to his questions on the protests. During the tense exchange between Boff and Khan, Boff said: “You seem to be avoiding saying ‘yes I’ll do that’,” before repeating his question for the second time:
Will you Mr Mayor look after the interests of the Jewish population of London, and write the home secretary to ask for the clarification of the rules on what is a banned organisation?
Khan said he was “really happy to read all the letters” Boff had sent to the Home Secretary on the issue and “consider whether there is evidence to make the submissions you want me to make”.
Boff called on the mayor to “look after the interests of the Jewish population of London” and to seek answers from the Government, to which Khan replied:
I’ve been in close contact with the Met Police Commissioner and one of the best ways to protect vulnerable Jewish Londoners is to get more resources for the police service, that’s what I intend to do. And if you want to join me on that then it makes my life a lot easier.
Boff could be heard apparently venting his frustration with colleagues, saying he felt he was “not getting any more out of him (Khan)”, and saying the response was the most “useless answer that I’ve ever seen in this assembly.”
But although the answer was useless to Boff, the showcase of him arguing with Kahn maybe was not. Later in the day, it was reported that the London Police launched two investigations into antisemitism at the ‘Al-Quds Day’ march. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police said:
We can confirm that we have received two allegations in relation to the Al Quds march on Sunday 18 June. The allegations relate to flags displayed during the march and alleged anti-Semitic comments. Detectives from Westminster CID are investigating.
The United States, Canada, Australia and the Arab League countries have listed Hezbollah as a “terrorist” group. The European Union has also blacklisted its powerful military wing but has stopped short of naming the entire group a terror organisation. With the events of this week and the terror that has hit London in the weeks prior, one can hope terror flags like Hezbollah will be outlawed at 2018’s ‘Al-Quds Day’ march.
The demonstrations featuring Hezbollah flags
On Sunday, June 18th, hundreds turned out for the annual Al Quds Day protest, chanting “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” as the march found its way through the streets of London. During the day, images posted on social media showing some participants draped in Hezbollah flags featuring a fist clenching an automatic rifle.
23.500 people had signed a petition asking London Mayor Sadiq Khan to cancel the march, but a spokesperson for the City Hall said that the mayor could not prevent the march from taking place as long as protesters stayed within the confines of the law. “Al Quds Day” was initiated by the late Iranian Leader Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979 following the Islamist seizure of power during the revolution that same year.