In an unprecedented transatlantic initiative, over 230 cross-party lawmakers from Europe, North America, and Israel have urged the EU to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
The Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) who spearheaded the campaign sent the declaration to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, European Council President Charles Michel, European Parliament President David Sassoli and to the governments of all EU member states.
The campaign launch marked the eve of the twin anniversaries of Hezbollah’s deadly bomb attacks on the AMIA Jewish community center in Argentina in 1994 and an Israeli tourist bus in Bulgaria in 2012.
Among the signatories are numerous members and chairs of foreign affairs and EU committees, party leaders, parliamentary vice presidents, heads of inter-parliamentary friendship groups with Israel and the U.S., and a number of lawmakers who have previously served as president, prime minister, and foreign and defense ministers.
In their declaration, the growing number of legislators from the EU and national parliaments from 25 EU member states, the UK, Switzerland, the U.S., Canada, and Israel dismissed the false distinction the EU created seven years ago when it designated only Hezbollah’s so-called military arm, underlining the danger the entire group poses:
“Hezbollah, the Iranian regime’s most deadly proxy, operates a global terror network that threatens not only its neighbors but also Western democracies. In Germany alone, Hezbollah has over 1,000 supporters. The group’s violent and antisemitic ideology is poisoning the fabric of our pluralistic societies. This is most visibly the case through Hezbollah’s annual ‘Quds Day’ marches where calls for the annihilation of the Jewish state echo the darkest chapters of European history,” the declaration reads in part.
The full text alongside the names of the signatories (updated daily) can be found here: https://transatlanticinstitute.org/transatlantic-declaration-eu-must-ban-hezbollah
Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl from the EPP group, who chairs the Transatlantic Friends of Israel group, said: ‘’Today marks an important milestone toward our common goal of banning Hezbollah in Europe. Over the coming months, we will continue to reach out to lawmakers from many political parties across the transatlantic space to add more signatures to the list. Our European values command an uncompromising fight against antisemitism and terrorism. In this context, it is clear without any doubt that the European Union must ban Hezbollah entirely.”
Daniel Schwammenthal who leads the AJC’s Brussels-based EU office, the AJC Transatlantic Institute, and also serves as TFI’s Secretary General added: “We applaud the growing consensus among European lawmakers on this crucial issue. An EU that stands for democracy, human rights, and the rules-based international order cannot at the same time be a safe haven for terrorists or their supporters. Europe’s commitments to Israel’s security and to combating antisemitism ring hollow when it continues to allow a deeply antisemitic organization dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state to use Europe as an operational hub.”
The one-page declaration debunks various arguments brought forward by supporters of Hezbollah’s bifurcation, including the view that such a move would supposedly destabilize Lebanon: “The only chance for real economic and political stability in Lebanon lies in the removal of Hezbollah’s stranglehold on the country. The courageous Lebanese protestors taking to the streets against corruption and political violence specifically denounce Hezbollah’s ‘state within a state.’ They deserve our full support. An EU ban against the Iranian proxy will help strengthen these democratic forces. “