Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) led a bipartisan group of lawmakers in urging member states of the European Union to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
Sen. Jacky Rosen (D-NV) along with Reps. Lee Zeldin (R-NY-01) and Ted Deutch (D-FL-22) joined Blackburn in drafting the letter to EU member states. A total of 30 lawmakers signed their names to the letter.
“The United States remains dedicated to combating global terrorism and its enablers, and we encourage our allies and partners to join in this effort,” states the letter. “To build on these efforts, we strongly urge the EU to designate the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.”
The letter commends Germany for its recent decision to designate Hezbollah a terrorist organization and ban all Hezbollah activity.
“Unfortunately, Hezbollah has increasingly used Europe as a launching pad for its criminal and terrorist activities, including money laundering, drug smuggling, recruitment, and training,” the letter continues. “In particular, Hezbollah’s fundraising and illicit business activities have generated additional annual revenue which the organization uses to support its global terrorism, including a 2012 Hezbollah terror attack in Bulgaria that killed 5 Israeli tourists and 1 Bulgarian citizen.”
The United States first designated Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 1997 and has taken a series of bipartisan steps to counter the group, the letter notes. Congress passed resolutions in July 2016 and October 2017 urging the EU to do the same.
The EU placed the “military wing” of Hezbollah on its list of terrorist organizations in 2013, but not the political arm of Hezbollah.
“Berlin’s action comes in the wake of continued paralysis in Brussels, where some member countries still argue for Hezbollah’s legitimacy due to its political role in Lebanon. The EU thus maintains an artificial distinction between Hezbollah’s ‘political wing’ and ‘military wing,’ a division the terror group itself does not recognize,” Richard Grenell, former U.S. ambassador to Germany, explained in a January op-ed. “The EU’s stated intent for creating this false distinction is to preserve an open channel with Hezbollah and its representatives in the Lebanese government.”
The bipartisan letter sent Friday notes that the United States, Canada, the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Arab League, and several other individual countries have designated the entirety of Hezbollah a terrorist organization.
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