Political cartoon criticizing the UK’s policies against the Palestinians
The spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry Saeed Khatibzadeh says the decision by the UK government to designate Palestinian resistance organization Hamas as a terrorist organization is part of a ploy by some western countries to criminalize international support for the Palestinian cause.
"Terrorist designations" by Western countries have become a tool to criminalise grassroots support for the Palestinian cause. These #phony_designations don't just target groups that resist Israeli Apartheid, they primary target these countries' civil societies. pic.twitter.com/ppSwSdEnxW
— Saeed Khatibzadeh | سعید خطیبزاده (@SKhatibzadeh) November 22, 2021
Posting on his Twitter account on 22 November, Khatibzadeh said that, in addition to targeting Hamas, the move by the UK government is also aimed at civil society organizations and human rights activists who support the Palestinian cause.
His comments came after the social media platform Instagram deleted a post by Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian that criticized the decision by UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to classify Hamas as a terrorist organization.
On 19 November, Patel announced plans to designate Hamas “in its entirety” as a terrorist organization. If the plan is passed by the British parliament, those supporting Hamas could face up to 10 years in prison. The plan is an outright ban on any support for the organization, including wearing clothes that symbolize support for Hamas or posting an image of the organization’s flag or logo.
Similar laws in other western countries, such as Canada and the US, have been used by pro-Israel organizations and lobbyists to attack individuals and organizations that support Palestine. For example, these laws have been exploited to target the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement, which seeks to put international economic and political pressure on Israel in solidarity with the Palestinians.
Laws have also been used to stifle academics and writers whose work criticize the Israeli occupation. Universities in the UK, Canada and the US have on several occasions dismissed or attempted to dismiss lecturers who criticize Israeli policies against Palestinians.