Activists in the UK have launched a campaign to have Hezbollah officially proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the British government.
The Israel-Britain Alliance is leading the campaign to have Hezbollah officially proscribed as a terrorist organisation by the UK government. Nearly 20 different organisations, both Jewish and Christian, have thrown their weight behind the initiative so far.
The campaign was prompted by the announcement in March that the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab League had proscribed the Lebanon-based Iranian-sponsored group as a terrorist organization.
By contrast, the UK government – like the European Union and others – distinguishes between Hezbollah's "military wing" (which is banned) and its "political wing" (which is not). Critics have noted that such a partial ban is essentially ineffective, as the lines between the two "factions" are extremely blurred, with money raised for Hezbollah's "political" arm often being used to fund terrorist activity.
Iran's most powerful proxy in the region, Hezbollah is committed to the destruction of the State of Israel and the establishment of an Iranian-led Shia-Muslim empire. It has carried out countless terrorist atrocities, including the firing of hundreds of rockets at Israeli civilians during the 2006 Second Lebanon War.
Hezbollah has also carried out or attempted numerous terror attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets abroad, most notoriously the AMIA bombing in 1994, in which 85 people were killed when a bomb exploded outside a Jewish center in Argentina.
More recently, Shia Islamist Hezbollah – once popular throughout the Muslim world – has also come to be fiercely despised by many Sunni Muslims for its role in the Syrian civil war, where Hezbollah and other Iranian-backed forces have committed countless war crimes in helping the Assad regime to put down a five-year rebellion.
In some cases, Hezbollah forces have been accused of deliberately starving civilian areas opposed to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, most notoriously during the siege of Madayah.
It was those crimes which prompted Sunni Arab states to ban the organization.
Supporters of the UK initiative have been encouraged to send letters directly to British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond MP.
The campaign calls for the UK government to recognize "the severity of Hezbollah’s actions, and proscribe the entirety of the group."
"Proscribing Hezbollah in its entirety would put the UK in line with the USA and the Netherlands," campaigners noted.
"Even by the heart-breaking standards of the Syrian civil war, the starvation of civilian areas like Madayah is a reminder of man’s inhumanity to his fellow man," Israel-Britain Alliance Director Michael McCann said. "These crimes have once again shown us the barbarity of Hezbollah.
"The UK government boldly led the way on pushing the EU to recognize the military wing of this group as a terrorist organisation. Many people will think we should therefore take the next logical step."
"We’ve rightly proscribed ISIL – the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant," he added, using another term for the ISIS or Islamic State terrorist group. "Now is the time to proscribe all of the other ISIL – the Islamic State of Iran and Lebanon."