October 25, 2017 — Washington, D.C.
AJC praised the U.S. House of Representatives for unanimously adopting a resolution today calling on the European Union to fully designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. The call comes four years after the EU took a significant, but only partial, step against the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy by designating the group’s so-called “military wing” and not the entire group.
“Pressing the EU to do the right thing, and finish what the 28 members started to do in 2013, is essential to effectively countering the global Hezbollah threat,” said AJC Associate Executive Director for Policy Jason Isaacson. “EU failure to fully designate Hezbollah was shocking – after two member states, Bulgaria, the target of a Hezbollah attack that took six lives, and Cyprus, which had foiled a Hezbollah attack, had urged member states to take appropriate action.”
H.Res. 359 calls on the EU to expand its earlier designation to hamper Hezbollah’s ability to operate in Europe. The measure was introduced by Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL), with original support from Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Susan Davis (D-CA), Mike Kelly (R-PA), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Ted Lieu (D-CA), Lee Zeldin (R-NY), and Brad Schneider (D-IL).
AJC has long advocated labeling Hezbollah a terrorist organization and applying sanctions against it. The United States, Canada, the Netherlands, Israel, Bahrain, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council have fully designated Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
“The EU stands oddly apart, clinging to the apparent belief that it can tame Hezbollah’s behavior, a proposition unsupported by evidence, and convincing itself of a division between the organization’s ‘military’ and ‘political’ wings, when, in reality, Hezbollah is a single, unified terrorist entity,” Isaacson said.
Designating Hezbollah in its entirety would empower European governments to take stronger steps to prevent the group from organizing and fundraising within EU borders. It would lead to the issuance of arrest warrants against members and active supporters of Hezbollah, the freezing of its assets in Europe, and a prohibition of fundraising activities on its behalf.
In addition to its terrorist activities, Hezbollah continues to engage in illicit narco- and weapons-trafficking, money laundering, stockpiling of explosives, and surveillance in European cities. To address Hezbollah funding sources, the House also adopted unanimously the Hezbollah International Financial Prevention Amendments Act. Introduced by Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) and Rep. Eliot Engel (D-NY), this legislation levies new sanctions on financial institutions and foreign governments that support Hezbollah and affiliated organizations.