The United Kingdom has officially designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group, joining 12 other countries that have a similar designation.
The development comes amid the maximum pressure campaign by the United States against Iran, which supports Hezbollah. Before this, the United Kingdom distinguished between the Hezbollah terrorist and political facets.
“Hezbollah is continuing in its attempts to destabilise the fragile situation in the Middle East, and we are no longer able to distinguish between their already banned military wing and the political party,” said U.K. Home Secretary Sajid Javid on Monday. “Because of this, I have taken the decision to proscribe the group in its entirety.”
The World Jewish Congress applauded the decision.
“It is clear that there is no distinction between the so-called political and military wings of Hezbollah, which has for many years engaged in and promoted terrorist activity around the world,” said WJC CEO and executive vice president Robert Singer. “It is absolutely right that the U.K. no longer makes such a distinction and has recognized Hezbollah for exactly what it is: a terrorist organization.”
American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris echoed that statement, saying “the British government’s action exposes the falsehood, especially in much of Europe, of a ‘bifurcated’ Hezbollah. Even Hezbollah leader Nasrallah has stated there is no difference between the group’s ‘political’ and ‘military’ wings. They are one and the same.
“All European governments should follow Britain’s recognition of Hezbollah’s reality and take appropriate steps to correct misguided policy,” emphasized Harris.
Campaign Against Antisemitism chairman Gideon Falter said “Hezbollah supporters will no longer be able to intimidate British Jews with relative impunity as they have done for years, knowing that they enjoy the friendship of figures like Jeremy Corbyn, who even called for the total lifting of restrictions on Hezbollah in this country.”