Brussels, 30 April 2020 - Spearheaded by the leadership of the Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI), 55 (and counting) lawmakers from the European Parliament, national parliaments in Europe, the United States Congress, and the Parliament of Canada called in a first-ever transatlantic and inter-parliamentary declaration on the European Union to designate Iran’s proxy Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
The declaration comes at the heels of Germany’s decision today to ban all of Hezbollah’s activities: “Following the 2012 suicide bombing in Bulgaria that killed six people, the EU banned only Hezbollah’s so-called military wing, stopping short of confronting the terror group with the full force of its sanctions mechanism. We thus urge the EU to end this false distinction between ‘military’ and ‘political’ arms – a distinction Hezbollah itself dismisses – and ban the entire organization,” the text read in part.
The full text initiated by TFI Chair MEP Lukas Mandl and the group’s Vice Chairs MEPs Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou (EPP), Petras Austrevicius (Renew Europe), Carmen Avram (S&D, Romania), Dietmar Köster (S&D, Germany), and Alexandr Vondra (ECR, Czechia), as well as the complete of signatories can be found here:
Among the U.S. signatories are Rep. Ted Deutch, who in 2017 sponsored the bipartisan bill H.Res. 359 calling on the European Union (EU) to fully designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, as well as Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel, Chair of the US House of Representatives Committee on Foreign Affairs, and Republican Rep. Michael McCaul, the Ranking Member of that same Committee.
Austrian MEP Lukas Mandl (EPP), Chair of the TFI group, added: „Our European values command an uncompromising fight against antisemitism and terrorism. In this context, it is clear without any doubt that the European Union must ban Hezbollah entirely. There is no so-called ‚political arm‘ and a ‚terrorist arm‘, but one organization acting violently against the only Jewish State, including killings of civilians, many of them children. A true European Foreign Policy will establish an even stronger relationship with reliable partners in Lebanon.“
Czech MEP Aleksandr Vondra (ECR), one of TFI’s Vice Chairs, said: “Hezbollah spreads violence and terror throughout the entire region. It is time for the European Union to ban the entire organization and bring back peace to the oppressed people.”
TFI Vice Chair and German MEP Dietmar Köster (Socialist Group) said: “Hezbollah’s declared goal is to destroy Israel and they have committed terrorist attacs worldwide to achieve this. Hezbollah is a threat for peace everywhere. Therefore I appreciate it that Hisbollah activities are banned in Germany. Now the next step would be that all activities of Hisbollah should be banned in the EU entirely.”
Lithuanian MEP Petras Austrevicius from the liberal “Renew Europe” group said: “Germany's ban of Hezbollah is the right signal and the rest of Europe ought to follow. Such joint European efforts would also bring more stability for the whole region.”
"Hezbollah, Iran’s most deadly proxy and a global terror network, poses a serious threat to Jewish life across the world. It is high time for the EU to follow in the footsteps of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, and now Germany, and end this false distinction between ‘military’ and ‘political’ arms – a distinction Hezbollah itself dismisses," TFI Vice Chair and Greek MEP Anna Michelle Asimakopoulou (EPP) said.
The Transatlantic Friends of Israel (TFI) is a cross-party, inter-parliamentary group committed to strengthening the trilateral partnership between the United States, Israel, and Europe.