(June 4, 2019 / JNS) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that he hasn’t seen “any material progress” by European countries to recognize Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist organization.
“The American position is very clear,” Pompeo told American Jewish Committee CEO David Harris in a recorded video played at the AJC Global Forum on Tuesday. “It is a unitarian entity. It is a terrorist organization. It is underwritten by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and it, in its entirety, must be designated as a terrorist entity.”
The United States designated Hezbollah as a terrorist entity in 1997.
Pompeo’s remarks came as German lawmakers are considering outlawing the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
Germany, like the European Union, only considers Hezbollah’s so-called military wing a terrorist organization.
Nevertheless, E.U. members the Netherlands and United Kingdom consider all of Hezbollah a terrorist entity, as do the United States, Canada, Israel and even the Arab League.
In February, the United Kingdom designated Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Hezbollah is a proxy of Iran, which Pompeo said the U.S. maximum pressure campaign against it is because it is “the nation in the Middle East that is causing the most instability in the Middle East.”
“It is 40 years of aggression, 40 years of arming proxy forces, 40 years of arming Hezbollah and disrupting Lebanon,” he said. “Today, disrupting Yemen by underwriting the Houthis. Firing missiles, even today, into Saudi Arabia. The world is at risk from this Iranian malign activity.”
Additionally, regarding the Trump administration’s Mideast peace initiative, Pompeo said, “It is unimaginable that any arrangement will be agreed to by the Israelis absent them protecting their own natural security interests. That’s a prerequisite.”
He noted that Arab states “have become frustrated” with the lack of a peace partner on the Palestinian side.
Moreover, the secretary of state said that the United States withdrawing from UNESCO and the United Nations Human Rights Council occurred because both bodies “had just come so unhinged” in how they treated Israel.
“We withdrew both from our participation and the resources that the United States provided with the aim being not to destroy those institutions, which in some cases do some good, but to fundamentally require them to reform, and at the very least, to make sure that Israel was treated fairly,” he said. “I hope one day that each of those institutions can be rejoined when they begin to treat all countries including Israel with the respect and dignity that they deserve.”
Finally, by appointing Elan Carr as U.S. Special Envoy for Monitoring and Combating Anti-Semitism in February, Pompeo said that “the Trump administration puts a really high value on this mission, and we’re doing all that we can to reduce the risk of anti-Semitism across the world.”
In addition to “moral suasion,” said Pompeo, “we’re thinking about foreign assistance and the broader set of diplomatic tools that we have to bring to bear” in considering how governments are behaving with respect to anti-Semitism.