In Brief: Drop the “false distinction” between Hezbollah wings, EU urged

Chris McAndrew, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

LFI chair Steve McCabe has joined more than 200 fellow politicians in calling for the European Union to drop its “false distinction” between Hezbollah’s military and political wings. The letter was organised by the recently formed group Transatlantic Friends of Israel which brings together European and American politicians. David Schwammenthal of the American Jewish Committee, who is TFI’s secretary-general, said: “We applaud the growing consensus among European lawmakers on this crucial issue.” He added: “Europe’s commitments to Israel’s security and to combating antisemitism ring hollow when it continues to allow a deeply antisemitic organisation dedicated to the destruction of the Jewish state to use Europe as an operational hub.” After a Hezbollah terrorist attack in Bulgaria in 2012 in which seven Israeli tourists were killed, and the arrest of a Hezbollah operative in Cyprus, the EU added Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing” to its terrorism list in 2013. But the distinction between Hezbollah’s political and military wings – one the terror group itself denies exists – enables Hezbollah to continue operating in Europe and leaves room for countries to consider the group a “legitimate” political party in Lebanon. LFI and our former chairs Joan Ryan and Louise Ellman led the campaign in the UK calling for the British government to fully proscribe Hezbollah. Proscription was also supported by London mayor Sadiq Khan. Last February, former home secretary Sajid Javid banned Hezbollah’s political wing. The military wing had previously been proscribed by the last Labour government. In April, Germany followed suit and announced it was fully proscribing Hezbollah. The Netherlands is the only other EU country to ban Hezbollah in its entirety. Read full article