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Defeating terrorism

The UK officially designated the entire Hezbollah organization as a terrorist group last week, following a debate in parliament days after UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid announced his plan to have the government do so. Previously, it had recognized Hezbollah’s military wing as a terrorist organization, but not its political wing.

As a result, this past June – when Iran’s al-Quds Day against Israel coincided with the last Friday of Ramadan – may have been the last time someone will be able to see the despicable sight of thousands of demonstrators waving Hezbollah flags on the streets of London.

The vote in parliament has not yet taken place, but the UK government has taken a clear stand against terrorism and the kind of Iranian expansionism that Hezbollah represents, being Tehran’s proxy in Lebanon and in parts of Syria. Hezbollah regularly threatens Israel – not only in words, but also by stockpiling rockets and missiles, and building cross-border tunnels into the North, several of which were recently destroyed by the IDF.

British Prime Minister Theresa May’s administration said the decision was made “on the basis that it is no longer tenable to distinguish between the military and political wings of Hezbollah... [which] continues to amass weapons in direct contravention of UN Security Council Resolutions, putting the security of the region at risk.”

Javid said that “Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilize the fragile situation in the Middle East,” and UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “We cannot... be complacent when it comes to terrorism. It is clear the distinction between Hezbollah’s military and political wings does not exist... Its destabilizing activities in the region are totally unacceptable and detrimental to the UK’s national security.”

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said soon after Javid’s announcement that her government may follow Britain’s lead – and they should be encouraged to do so.

But despite these strong arguments that Hezbollah is not only a threat to Israel, but a destabilizing force for the entire Middle East – with the potential to harm Western and British interests as well – Germany said this weekend that it is not convinced that it should ban the terrorist organization.

The EU has banned Hezbollah’s military arm since 2013, and a German intelligence report from last year said there are nearly a thousand Hezbollah operatives in the country fundraising, recruiting and spreading the organization’s anti-Semitic ideology.

A spokesman for the German Interior Ministry even admitted to The Jerusalem Post’s Benjamin Weinthal that Hezbollah “fights the right of existence of the State of Israel with terrorist means” and “such an objective is anti-Semitic in nature.”

Yet Germany’s position remains that Hezbollah’s so-called political arm is legitimate.

The idea that Hezbollah’s political and military arms are somehow separate is completely absurd. Yes, Hezbollah is a party in Lebanon’s parliament and a member of the country’s governing coalition with two seats in the cabinet. But the political branch is just another means of obtaining power and promoting the organization’s destructive and radical Islamic ideology. Both branches of Hezbollah have the same leader, Hassan Nasrallah, who threatens to destroy Israel on a regular basis and operates under the thumb of the mullahs in Iran.

But they do not only seek to bomb Israel into oblivion; they have sought out and committed terrorist attacks against Jews around the world. When an anti-Semitic terrorist organization with a deadly record makes threats, it would behoove the world to take it seriously.

For Germany to admit that Hezbollah promotes an ideology and acts to eliminate about half of world Jewry, but still refuses to ban this poisonous terrorist organization, is wrong.

We are still within living memory of the Holocaust and Germany has a special responsibility to take action and ensure that nothing remotely like it happens again.

That needs to begin with eradicating anti-Semitism on its own home turf – and one way to do that is to declare Hezbollah, in its entirety, a terrorist organization.

 

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