The Anti-Defamation League applauded the United Kingdom’s decision Monday to classify the entirety of Lebanon’s Hezbollah as a terror group and called on other countries to follow suit.
Britain previously differentiated between Hezbollah’s political and military wings, with the only the latter outlawed, but on Monday fully proscribed the Shiite organization.
“Hezbollah threatens the security of not just Israel, but also the entire Middle East. We welcome the British government’s decision to finally ban Hezbollah in its entirety as a terrorist group,” ADL head Jonathan Greenblatt said in a statement.
“This step is long overdue. ADL calls on all world governments — especially in those parts of Europe, Latin America, Africa, and Asia where the group raises funds — to fully ban Hezbollah as a terrorist group,” he added.
Israel’s foreign minister had earlier welcomed the UK’s decision and called on the United Nations to follow suit.
The move came after the powerful Iran-backed Shiite terror group was included as part of Lebanon’s new government. While the cabinet is headed by Saad Hariri, a Western-backed Sunni politician who has held the job since 2016, Hezbollah made significant gains at the expense of the largest Sunni party and now controls three government ministries.
Hezbollah has a decades-long history of conflict with Israel, including the bloody Second Lebanon War in 2006, and its leader Hassan Nasrallah regularly threatens to target Israel with thousands of advanced missiles that can reach all major Israeli cities.
The UK’s ban on Hebzollah will outlaw the flying of its banners at events such as the annual Iranian-inspired Quds Day rallies in London.
Lebanese Prime Minister Hariri earlier this month indicated that his new government would allow Hezbollah to keep its weapons, which, since its war against Israel in 2006, it has frequently used to threaten Israel.
Hariri said that Lebanese citizens have the right to “resist Israeli occupation and repel its aggression,” in reference to the terror group’s right to keep its weapons.
Under UN Resolution 1701, which ended the 2006 Second Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah, Lebanon committed to disarming the Iran-backed terror group.
US President Donald Trump’s administration and others have expressed concerns about Hezbollah holding three cabinet posts and called on the new government to ensure that group is not supported by the ministries’ resources.
Hezbollah was formed in 1982 under the guidance of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps to combat Israel. It has been Iran’s most successful investment abroad, serving as the Islamic Republic’s arm at Israel’s doorstep.