October 22, 2020 — New York
American Jewish Committee (AJC) lauded Estonia’s announcement today that it will designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
“Hezbollah poses a considerable threat to international – and thereby Estonian – security,” said Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu, with whom AJC has met three times since September 2019. “With this step, Estonia stands by the United States, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Lithuania as well as other countries who have concluded that Hezbollah uses terrorist means and constitutes a threat to the security of many states.”
Estonia becomes the fourth EU member, after the Netherlands, Germany, and Lithuania, to do so.
Others who have taken action include Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Honduras, Israel, Kosovo, Paraguay, Serbia, United Kingdom, and United States, as well as the Arab League and Gulf Cooperation Council.
“Thankfully, there is today a growing trend to shed any illusions and confront the stark reality that Hezbollah is one indivisible organization, and that organization is terrorist through and through,” said AJC CEO David Harris. “Other European nations, we earnestly hope, not to mention the European Union (EU) itself, will soon get on board and also designate Hezbollah as a terrorist group in its entirety.”
In 2013, following a deadly Hezbollah attack in Bulgaria and another incident in Cyprus, the EU made a decision to bifurcate the Iranian proxy. Due mostly to French opposition to designate all of Hezbollah, Brussels listed only its so-called “military” wing as a terror group, but not its “political” wing. It is an artificial distinction that Hezbollah itself rejects and, in any case, has no basis in fact.
“Permitting Hezbollah’s ‘political’ wing to operate on European soil has allowed for recruitment, fundraising, and the poisonous spread of antisemitism, not to mention sending a European message of hesitation and indecisiveness,” Harris added.
For well over two decades, AJC has been urging governments across Europe — and around the world — to label Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and take concrete measures to contain and confront its activities, including money laundering, narco-trafficking, smuggling explosives and weapons, and creating active cells on every continent.
AJC Central Europe, headquartered in Warsaw, was established in 2017 as an office to cover Estonia as well as the other two Baltic states and the four Visograd countries, even as AJC has been active in the region since 1989-91.