ADL: E.U. Hezbollah Designation a “Flawed Counter-Terrorism Strategy”

New York, NY, July 22, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today 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 League reiterated profound concerns that the partial blacklisting of Hezbollah would be largely ineffectual, because law enforcement will 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.”

In June 2012, ADL wrote to Baroness Catherine Ashton, vice president of the European Commission, noting that the delineation between Hezbollah’s terrorist and political activities was a distinction without a difference.

In 2009, Hezbollah’s Deputy Secretary-General Naim Qassem stated that “Hezbollah has a single leadership,” and that “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,” Mr. 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.”

In a 2010 U.S. Supreme Court case on terrorism financing, Holder v. Humanitarian Law Project, the League brought substantive expertise on terrorist organizations to the attention of the Court in an amicus brief, arguing that all activities of terrorist organizations are inextricably linked. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. cited ADL’s brief in his finding that funds raised for putatively charitable purposes by three major terrorist groups -- the Kurdistan Workers' Party (the "PKK"), the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (the "LTTE") and Hamas – have been and could be redirected for terrorist purposes.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.