The Anti-Defamation League on Monday called the European Union’s decision to designate the military wing of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization “a positive political statement, but a flawed counter-terrorism strategy.”
The ADL reiterated concerns that the partial blacklisting of Hezbollah would be largely ineffectual, because law enforcement would not be able to comprehensively target Hezbollah’s financial activities in Europe.
“Highlighting Hezbollah’s involvement in terrorism is a positive political statement, but a flawed counter-terrorism strategy,” said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. “Since terror-related operational activities are already illegal throughout the E.U., the high-value counter-terrorism target remains Hezbollah’s financing activities in Europe – and that target was missed.”
The ADL cited statements made by Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem in 2009 in which he described the dual nature of the organization, where its political and terror wings were one in the same.
“Hezbollah has a single leadership,” Qassem said, adding, “all political, social and jihad work is tied to the decisions of this leadership. The same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”
“The long and public debate on this issue has given Hezbollah plenty of time to organize a charade of fundraising and financial operations through so-called political front groups,” Foxman said. “The best evidence of this decision’s ineffectiveness is Hezbollah’s utter indifference to it. The fact remains: funding for Hezbollah is funding for terrorism.”
Following the announcement of the EU decision, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu expressed Israel’s appreciation, but echoed the same sentiment as the ADL, saying that Hezbollah was one uniform entity.
“As far as the State of Israel is concerned, Hezbollah is one organization the arms of which are indistinguishable. It has imposed terrorist rule on wide sections of Lebanon, has converted them into an Iranian protectorate and is stockpiling tens of thousands of rockets there.”