by Marcus Dysch
David Cameron has asked the Jewish community to help him persuade the European Union to proscribe Hizbollah.
At his meeting last month with the Jewish Leadership Council, the Prime Minister urged its members to “make a noise” and lead a grassroots campaign calling for the EU to take action against the Iranian-backed terror group.
The push to secure a Europe-wide ban was stepped up this week after Bulgarian authorities blamed Hizbollah for the bombing which killed five Israeli tourists in the Black Sea resort of Burgas last July.
The British campaign is part of a worldwide response from Jewish groups including the World Jewish Congress, B’nai B’rith International and the European Jewish Congress...more.
by Daniel S. Mariaschin, executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International
What further evidence does the European Union need to declare Hezbollah an international terrorist group?
The latest proof comes from Bulgaria.
After a six month investigation, Bulgaria has concluded in a new report that Hezbollah was behind the July 2012 bus attack in Burgas that killed five Israeli tourists, their Bulgarian bus driver and wounded more than 30 other Israelis.
The report finds the bomber, who died in the attack, was part of a Hezbollah cell that included two members using Australian and Canadian passports.
Interior minister Tsvetan Tsvetanov told reporters: "There is data showing the financing and connection between Hezbollah and the two suspects."
Security experts in America and Israel also agree Hezbollah was behind the attack.
The attack occurred on the 18th anniversary of the Hezbollah bombing of the Argentine-Israelite Mutual Association building (the Jewish center in Buenos Aires) that killed 85 people and wounded 300, sending a chilling reminder that the terror group’s reach is far and wide. That was the second Hezbollah attack in Buenos Aires, following the 1992 attack on the Israeli embassy that left 29 dead and 242 injured.
The United States has first hand experience of Hezbollah’s terror. The group is responsible for the 1983 suicide bombing of a Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon, that killed 241 American service members. At about the same time, another Hezbollah suicide bomber also attacked a French military base in Beirut killing more than 50.
In the decade after its founding, Hezbollah kidnapped and killed some 30 Westerners, including the president of American University in Beirut in 1982, as well as the 1985 kidnapping and murder of a CIA station chief in Beirut.
Hezbollah attacks in Israel, Great Britain and Spain have also left scores dead.
The United States, Canada, Israel and the Netherlands already list Hezbollah as the terrorist organization that it is.
But so far, the European Union has refused to declare the obvious, often defending its intransigence by claiming Hezbollah has two distinct faces: a "political" wing and a "military" faction.
But using Hezbollah's seats in Lebanon's government is a false excuse to grant these terrorists any semblance of legitimacy. Does anybody believe that the "military" and "political" branches of Hezbollah are located on different planets?
There can be no doubt about the fungibility of funding within terrorist organizations. Hezbollah has effectively hijacked a sovereign government in Lebanon. In fact, isolating Hezbollah would contribute to freeing Lebanon from the grip of intimidation.
Striking at Europe's doorstep
Now that Hezbollah has struck right at Europe’s doorstep with the Burgas attack, will this be the final bit of evidence to propel the EU to act? It should be.
Sadly, it seems even the attack in Bulgaria may not be enough for the EU to do the right thing.
Gilles de Kerchove, the top terrorism expert for the EU, told the EUobserver in recent weeks that: “First, we need to reach conclusions with strong evidence that it was the military wing of Hezbollah [which bombed Burgas]. That's the prerequisite, even in legal terms, but then, as always in the listing process, you need to ask yourself: 'Is this the right thing to do?'."
He also told the publication: "There is no automatic listing just because you have been behind a terrorist attack. It's not only the legal requirement that you have to take into consideration, it's also a political assessment of the context and the timing."
Why is the EU dithering on this?
European Union members who have indicated reluctance to label Hezbollah as a terrorist group are allowing it to hide behind its "political" face - the one with the seats in the parliament of Lebanon. When in reality, it is one organization responsible for a global reign of terror going back 30 years.
Hezbollah has become especially adept at hitting soft targets, as in its Burgas murders.
It has also become skilled in siding with those who carry out state-sponsored murder, such as lending assistance to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad as he continues his ruthless campaign to silence his own people’s opposition to his rule.
The Bulgarian investigation’s conclusion that Hezbollah was behind the Burgas attack is courageous. It is not the first time Bulgarians stood up to do what is right.
Next month marks the 70th anniversary of a bold move by Bulgarians from every element of society - everyday citizens united to prevent some 48,000 Bulgarian Jews from being deported to Nazi death camps.
The inspiring story of the rescue of Bulgaria’s Jews is a study in bravery and determination. Today in the face of the Hezbollah attack inside its borders, Bulgaria is standing up and speaking out again.
Will Europe heed its call?
A terror designation from the European Union could help cut off vital funding that Hezbollah receives from extremists and other supporters around the world. The terror label could limit the ability of Hezbollah operatives to move freely in Europe.
But perhaps most important, it would send a message, finally, that the global community will not tolerate terrorism.
Daniel S. Mariaschin is the executive vice president of B'nai B'rith International, a Washington-based international group for the fight against anti-Semitism founded in 1843
by Robert Wiener
Seeking new ways to defend Israel against its detractors, some 220 people came together Sunday at the Aidekman campus in Whippany.
For four hours, speakers diagnosed attacks on Israel’s legitimacy and prescribed remedies for countering negative media coverage and hostile criticism.
The UN came under criticism during a panel discussion featuring David Michaels, director of UN and intercommunal affairs at B’nai B’rith International. “Not only does the UN insist on considering Israeli settlements the greatest obstacle to peace, it is sometimes complicit in anti-Israel incitement, with deadly results for Israelis and Palestinians alike,” he said...more
by John Avlon
Question: What do George Clooney, Chaka Khan, the American Medical Association, Bon Jovi and C. Everett Koop have in common?
Answer: They are among the 500 names on the National Rifle Association's absurd new "enemies list."
This idea gets thrown into even sharper relief when you look at a partial list of civic, charitable and religious organizations that the NRA has determined are "anti-gun." Warning: Take a deep breath before reading aloud:
B'nai B'rith International President Allan J. Jacobs quoted:
by Cnaan Liphshiz
In his many years of service for France’s spy agency, Claude Moniquet has seen much evidence linking Hezbollah to terrorist-related activities in Europe and beyond.
The attacks, says Moniquet, a 20-year veteran of the DGSE intelligence service, go back as far as 1983, to the bombing of military barracks in Beirut that killed nearly 300 people, including 58 French soldiers.
“It implicates the much bigger financial structure that facilitated the attack,” said Nuno Wahnon Martins, director of European Affairs at B'nai B'rith. “[It] means Hezbollah’s entire drug-smuggling and money-laundering operations are serving the organization’s terrorist activities.” ...more.
by Aliyah Frumin
It seems like the National Rifle Association has its crosshairs on just about everyone.
The powerful gun lobby has posted what amounts to an enemies list on its website, and the neverending lineup includes scores upon scores of individual and groups that the NRA sees as hostile to gun rights. The list has more than 500 names, including women’s groups, law enforcement organizations, former presidents and A–list celebs.
Religious organizations: There’s no exception for a number of religious organizations either. The Unitarian Universalist Association, American Jewish Committee, Episcopal Church (Washington Office), Untied States Catholic Conference, B’nai B’rith...more.
by Adriana Camisar, B’nai B’rith International's Special Advisor on Latin American Affairs
After 19 years during which the perpetrators of the terror attack against the AMIA building in Buenos Aires have not been brought to justice, the Argentine government decided to quietly sign an agreement with Iran. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced the deal on her Twitter account, showing complete disrespect, not only to the victims of this brutal attack that killed 85 and injured hundreds, but also to all of Argentina.
The agreement provides for, among other things, the creation of a “Commission” composed of jurists of “recognized international legal prestige.” It also states that these “jurists” will have access to and review all the documentation of the case and issue “recommendations.” It is unclear what, if any, role will be played by the Argentine justice system, in particular, the prosecutor of the case, Alberto Nisman, who has spent years conducting the investigation.
Another unfortunate clause of this agreement states that members of the commission and of the Argentine and Iranian judiciary will interrogate the suspects in Teheran. This is unacceptable.
The Argentine government would have us believe that this agreement represents a step forward in the struggle to achieve justice in the case, but in actuality, it is an insult to the intelligence of all Argentinians.
The Iranian regime has refused to cooperate with the Argentine justice system for many years – and not because of lack of trust. It has not cooperated because there is has never intended to bring to justice the main suspects, some of whom are currently part of the establishment in Iran (as is the case of current Iranian defense minister, Ahmad Vahidi). It is worse than naive to think that they will now cooperate with this commission of “independent” jurists.
Iran is the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism and one of the worst human rights violators on the planet. Unfortunately, the Argentine government has made a pact with the devil and the only result that can be expected from this shameful agreement is that the progress made in the last few years will be reversed.
The President, on her Twitter account, called this agreement “historic” and said she will never allow “the AMIA tragedy to be used as a chess piece on the chessboard of the geopolitical interests of others.” What she apparently wanted to say was that the AMIA case should not be politicized, but this is exactly what the agreement is doing.
The government is clearly seeking to upgrade its relations with Tehran at the expense of the victims of this terrible attack. But the reasons as to why are not entirely clear. Some believe that there are commercial interests involved. Others cite the government’s need to get even closer to Hugo Chavez, Iran’s main ally in the region. What is clear, however, is that in signing this agreement Argentina has positioned itself – in geopolitical terms – as a supporter of a fascist theocracy, and an opponent of the standards of the most advanced Western democracies.
The agreement still needs to be submitted to congress for its ratification. Let’s hope that the Argentine legislature shows some sanity by not ratifying it...more.
by Steve Maas
When most people think of the refugee ship Exodus, the Paul Newman movie and the Leon Uris novel on which it was based come to mind.
What few know is that one of the real heroes behind the real Exodus was a businessman from Brockton, Dewey D. Stone.
Weizmann, who was waiting anxiously in New York, expressed his frustration to Stone in a meeting on March 12, 1948. That night a visibly shaken Stone returned to Boston, where he was honored at a B’nai B’rith dinner along with Frank Goldman, the national head of the organization.
Goldman asked Stone what was the matter. Hearing about Weizmann’s predicament, Goldman said he might have a solution. He had just attended a Kansas City B’nai B’rith event recognizing Eddie Jacobson, who had been Truman’s partner in a clothing store business. Why not see if Jacobson would intervene with his old pal, Goldman suggested.
After collecting coins for a pay phone from fellow dinner guests, Goldman and Stone hustled into the lobby to call Jacobson. Stone arranged to meet Jacobson in New York and introduce him to Weizmann. Realizing the gravity of the situation, Jacobson hopped on a train to Washington to meet with Truman. The president agreed to see Weizmann, provided he came in the side door.
After hearing out the Zionist leader, Truman did an about-face and recognized Israel.
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