This is a guest post by Stephen Hoffman
Around a month ago I wrote on this very blog about the need for Hezbollah to be proscribed as a terrorist organisation across the EU. I spoke about my hope that the EU would show in deeds, and not just in some nice words, that it would stand up to terror and ensure the security of its citizens, because Hezbollah aims to put EU citizens’ lives at risk. Since then the ZF (Zionist Federation), alongside many other organisations like the JLC (Jewish Leadership Council) have campaigned for Hezbollah to be proscribed by the EU. Furthermore, the ZF have produced a briefing on Hezbollah, which has highlighted why Hezbollah is a threat. You can read it here. The JLC has also produced a report on the matter.
The ZF has also encouraged its many members to write to their local MEPs to ask them to put pressure on the EU Commission and the EU Parliament to proscribe Hezbollah. On top of this, the ZF has written directly to Baroness Ashton, the Commissioner responsible for Foreign Affairs, and has encouraged many of our supporters to do the same. The ZF has also contacted every single British MEP on the matter and sent them a copy of the ZF report on the subject. So far, there have been many positive responses from MEPs, but no response at all from the Commission – the Commissioner appears either ignorant or unwilling to talk about a very pressing and important issue which affects EU citizens directly.
On Tuesday, the EU had a reminder about the importance of proscribing Hezbollah; this came from Shimon Peres, Israel’s President and one of its most eloquent speakers and not someone who could be portrayed as an extreme right winger. Peres spoke to the European Parliament and reminded them of the need to proscribe Hezbollah and the vile nature of Hezbollah. He said:
“Today Hezbollah, supported by Iran, is destroying Lebanon. Hezbollah is a terror organisation. Not a political movement. They collect missiles. They are trigger- happy. They hide missiles in peaceful towns and villages. By doing so, they turn them into a war target. Hezbollah divided Lebanon politically, religiously and ethnically. It turned the land of a cedar tree into a scorched and barren land. Hezbollah is a state within a state. A private army apart from the national army. It sends soldiers to support the massacre of a bloody dictator in Syria, with no authorisation of the Government of which it is a member. Recently, 20 terror attempts by Hezbollah were counted all over the world, in India, Thailand, Georgia, South Africa, the U.S. A., Egypt and Greece, among others. Las month the government of Bulgaria, a member this European Union, reported that it had identified that the terror attack in Burgas, was carried out by Hezbollah. Five Israeli tourists and one Bulgarian citizen lost their lives. Distinguished Members of Parliament, your voice is highly respected. We appeal to you – call terror- terror. Save Lebanon from terrorist madness. Save the Syrian people from Iran’s proxies. Save your citizens and ours from Hezbollah. The international community must designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation.”
Peres was right. The job of leaders of the free and democratic world, which includes MEPs, is to stand up to terror whether it takes place in the EU or outside of it. If one just sits idly by as it is happening, you let terrorism win and this is unacceptable.
So I appeal once again for the EU, from its MEPs, to the Commissioners to its President, to show that it takes the threat of Hezbollah seriously, by proscribing it as a terrorist group. You have heard from many people about the need to proscribe it, including Prime Minister David Cameron and the President of Israel, Shimon Peres. You’ve seen all the reports highlighting the vile nature of Hezbollah and how by proscribing it, the EU could fight back against it. It’s time to listen to all of this and stop burying your heads in the sand. If the EU refuses, it is simply acting in a cowardly way and any credibility it did have will fall by the wayside. It will be seen as having as much credibility on the international stage, as Jedward has in respect of musical talent. The EU doesn’t have to be seen like this. Even now, after ignoring calls for over a month, it could proscribe Hezbollah and show it is committed to standing up to terror. As I’ve said in my previous blog, the choice is the EU’s.