November 1, 2023 — Washington, DC
American Jewish Committee (AJC), the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people, today welcomed the House of Representatives’ unanimous passage of H.Res.599, a resolution urging the European Union (EU) to declare all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Like Hamas, Hezbollah is backed by Iran – financially and materially.
The United States, Canada, Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Arab League, the Gulf Cooperation Council, Argentina, and others have all designated Hezbollah in its entirety as a terror organization. The EU currently only recognizes Hezbollah’s so-called “military wing” as a terror organization.
“Hezbollah’s own leaders have made clear that the organization does not have distinct military, terrorist, and political wings. The European Union needs to officially recognize this as well,” said AJC CEO Ted Deutch. “Hezbollah terrorists around the world recruit members, raise funds, procure weapons, smuggle drugs, conduct surveillance, and, when feasible, instill terror and destruction. They will continue to engage in this dangerous, illegal behavior as long as the international community allows.
"The 2013 EU designation of the military wing as a terrorist organization was an important step, but now the EU must finish the work. For the security of the international community, especially in the wake of the October 7 Hamas terror attack on Israel and the growing threat of Hezbollah engagement in furtherance of Iran’s agenda to destroy the Jewish state, our European counterparts must join the U.S. and other allies in designating Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization. We cannot allow Iran’s proxy terrorists to continue to operate freely.”
Hezbollah is a Shi’a Islamist terrorist group based in Lebanon and sponsored by Iran. It has carried out attacks throughout the world that have killed thousands, including 220 Marines, 18 U.S. Navy sailors and three U.S. Army soldiers in the 1983 Marine Barracks Bombing; 85 Argentinians in the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina, a Jewish community center; and a Bulgarian bus driver and five Israeli tourists in the 2012 bombing of a tour bus in Burgas, Bulgaria. Hezbollah continues to target Americans, Europeans, Israelis, and others.
With a stockpile of more than 150,000 rockets and missiles capable of hitting Israel, Hezbollah foments instability throughout Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, and helps prop up Syrian dictator and accused war criminal Bashar al-Assad. The terror group also participates in criminal narco- and weapons-trafficking, money laundering, and other illegal activities in European cities.
In 2013, after sustained AJC advocacy, the EU designated the so-called “military wing” of Hezbollah as a terrorist group—making a false distinction between the group’s “political” and "military” wings. While the EU’s partial designation was welcome, designating all of Hezbollah would empower European governments to take stronger steps to keep it from organizing and fundraising within EU borders. This remains a key advocacy priority for AJC, especially for its offices in Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome, and Warsaw.
In 2016, AJC worked with the U.S. Congress to ensure passage of the Hezbollah International Financing Prevention Act, which levies sanctions on financial institutions that help the group launder money. The law also provides for monitoring Hezbollah’s TV station, al-Manar, and mandates action against satellite, broadcast, Internet, or other providers that work with al-Manar. Signed by 260 lawmakers from 27 European countries, the U.S., Canada, and Israel, AJC’s Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) inter-parliamentary group issued a statement in July 2020 urging the EU to designate all of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.
In March 2016, the Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League officially designated the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, joining the United States, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands in making that determination.
AJC is the global advocacy organization for the Jewish people. With headquarters in New York, 25 offices across the United States, 14 overseas posts, as well as partnerships with 38 Jewish community organizations worldwide, AJC’s mission is to enhance the well-being of the Jewish people and Israel, and to advance human rights and democratic values in the United States and around the world. For more, please visit www.ajc.org.