Yesterday, more than a thousand protesters took to the streets of London for the annual Al-Quds Day parade, proudly waving flags of the terrorist group Hezbollah, calling for the destruction of the State of Israel. A similar spectacle occurred in Berlin only few days prior.
At the outset, we must be clear – these were not demonstrators protesting for Palestinian rights, peace or justice. Were that the case, it would be laudable.
This was an unbridled display of hatred and allegiance to a fanatical terrorist group, with calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
The international community knows this, yet hardly bat an eyelid.
Make no mistake about it, Hezbollah is a terrorist organisation, created, funded and instructed by the regime of Iran. Their very logo even has an assault rifle firmly emblazoned in the centre. Even the United States, Canada, Japan and Arab League have deemed the entire group as a terrorist organisation, however with the exception of Netherlands, the EU is still to do so.
Imagine if supporters of ISIS tried to march through the streets of Europe, many of which have been ravaged by a wave of attacks by Islamic State terrorists? Surely such grotesque display would, rightfully so, not be tolerated. It is simply unfathomable and deplorable that supporters of Hezbollah continue to be indulged in such manner.
Equally so, were a comparable event ever held in Israel calling for the destruction of a third state, not that one is ever likely to, there would be near universal outrage and condemnation. Such double standards, in which the international community holds Israel out to a different standard, while turning its back when it is the Jewish state that is the target, cannot persist, for it only invites greater violence, disunity and instability.
Even the Al-Quds Day itself was established by Ayatollah Khomenei in 1979, with the explicit purpose of motivating popular support for the destruction of Israel, a desire reiterated by Iran at every opportunity since, including in the past week by his successor Ayatollah Khamenei, who called Israel a “malignant cancerous tumor” that has to be “removed and eradicated,” reinforcing that “Palestine is from the River to the Sea.”
In case there were some who perhaps still needed a reminder about Hezbollah’s primary mission, then look no further than its very own ‘Manifesto’: “Our struggle will end only when this entity [Israel] is obliterated.”
But Hezbollah’s incitement to terror does not end with the State of Israel; it extends to Jews everywhere. In 2002, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah stated “if Jews all gather in Israel, it will save us the trouble of chasing after them worldwide.”
Since the end of 2006 Lebanon War, Hezbollah has amassed over 150,000 mostly Iranian-made rockets, aimed at Israeli territory, in flagrant contravention of UN Security Council Resolution 1701, which required the terror group to disarm after the war.
Under Tehran’s instructions, Hezbollah has also become one of the key backers of the Assad regime in Syria, while according to Forbes, is today also the richest terror organisation in the world, with a massive fortune over $1 billion.
Now only yesterday, comes a report that Hezbollah & their fellow Iranian proxy terrorist brothers-in-arms, Hamas, are working together to establish missile factories and training camps in southern Lebanon. Yet again, there has been virtual silence from the international community, which did not waste a moment to condemn Israel for alleged ‘excessive force’ for defending itself in Gaza, at this latest very worrying development.
Yet despite this overwhelming wealth of evidence, with the exception of Netherlands, which has deemed the entire Hezbollah group as a terrorist organisation, the remainder of EU only proscribes the ‘military wing’ of Hezbollah, and not its ‘political wing’. This is like saying ISIS has a military wing and a gender equality unit.
This separation is even more absurd, given Hezbollah itself has unequivocally dismissed it, with Naim Qassem, Hezbollah’s Deputy Leader, reiterating: “the same leadership that directs the parliamentary and government work also leads jihad actions in the struggle against Israel.”
When even the Arab League makes no such distinction, recognising the entire Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, surely this should serve as a wake up call?
This ongoing reluctance & intransigence to proscribe all of Hezbollah has only emboldened the terrorist group, providing it legitimacy, while giving Iran a stronger foothold to carry out their acts of terror in the region and undermining stability of Lebanon.
Furthermore, maintaining this charade allows Hezbollah to continue fundraising and recruiting for its terror activities around the world, including in Europe, which will only undermine global counter-terrorism efforts.
If the international community, including Europe, are to be serious about fighting terror, they must be unequivocally resolute in ‘calling a spade a spade’. This starts with stopping these obscene parades of terror through the heart of Europe and finally banning all of Hezbollah.
- Vladimir Sloutsker is the President and Co-Founder of The Israeli-Jewish Congress (IJC).