Britain’s decision to outlaw Hezbollah last month casts a harsh light on the rest of Europe’s refusal to do so, two experts wrote in an op-ed published Sunday in the New York Post.
After Britain “rejected the notion that Hezbollah is a ‘two-winged’ group without unified command and control over its terror activities,” Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), and Benjamin Weinthal, a senior fellow at FDD, argued, “Berlin still clings to that delusion.”
Germany on Friday, they reported once again rejected requests from the United States, Israel and a number of Arab governments to designate Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist group.
The failure of Germany and other European countries to do so puts them “at odds with reality — not to mention Hezbollah leaders’ own view of their group,” Dubowitz and Weinthal wrote.
For example in 2012, Hezbollah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi emphasized, “Hezbollah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another.”
So if Hezbollah acknowledges that it is single unit, why doesn’t Germany treat it as such?
“The real reason Germany (and the EU) hesitate to ban the whole of Hezbollah has to do with appeasing Iran, Hezbollah’s sponsor,” Dubowitz and Weinthal charged.
They noted just last month German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a congratulatory telegram to the Islamic Republic celebrating its the 40th anniversary of its founding.
Despite Germany’s remaining “wedded to various fictions about the nature of the Islamic Republic of Iran and Hezbollah,” Dubowitz and Weinthal wrote, “There is only one Hezbollah, and it pursues its political ends through terror.”
In an op-ed published in The Tower last week, The Israel Project’s senior fellow Julie Lenarz examined Europe’s reluctance to declare Hezbollah a terrorist organization in its entirety.
“The question is why European governments are in willful denial about this fact,” Lenarz wrote.
“To some degree, Europe’s aversion is grounded in misguided post-colonial guilt. Emmanuel Macron spelled that out in his statement. Then there is the hard-left, with its romanticized concept of “resistance.” No terrorist or dictatorial regime is safe from Jeremy’s Corbyn’s sympathy. One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, as the saying goes. And most importantly, perhaps, European governments are worried that a full proscription of Hezbollah could hinder political and diplomatic efforts to salvage the doomed 2015 nuclear accord with Iran.”
The folly for not acting though, Lenarz argued, is that “Iran is Hezbollah. Iran is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world and, by extension, so is Hezbollah.” Thus Hezbollah “threatens peace in Europe, undermines the stability of the Middle East, and has destroyed Lebanon as an independent country.”
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