The letter sent Thursday by Reps. Ted Deutch (D-FL), Gus Bilirakis (R-FL), Grace Meng (D-NY) and Lee Zeldin (R-NY) expresses concern over the failure earlier this month by the German parliament, or Bundestag, to extend a ban on Hezbollah’s military wing to its civilian arm. Deutch chairs the House’s Middle East subcommittee.“We appreciate your government’s commitment to fighting terrorism, and we believe that taking the step to designate the political wing of Hezbollah will have a significant impact on Hezbollah’s activity in Europe and around the globe,” the letter says, according to JTA.
“Hezbollah’s leader, Hassan Nasrallah, has clearly expressed his intent to spread jihad and wipe Israel off the map,” it notes. “The threatening influence of Hezbollah extends beyond Israel and poses a tremendous risk to the security interests of Europe as a whole.”
“We support the steps that Germany has already taken by designating Hezbollah’s military wing, and believe that it is critical that Germany take into full consideration the impact that designating Hezbollah’s political wing will have on the terrorist organization’s dangerous activities,” the letter adds.
In 2013, the European Union of which Germany is a member, blacklisted Hezbollah's “military wing” as a terrorist organization, while failing to blacklist the group’s political arm.
However, EU 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.
The British government formally announced in February that it intends to ban the political wing of the Hezbollah terror organization, after previously having banned its military wing.
Germany later stated that it will not follow Britain’s lead, with its Minister of State Niels Annen arguing that the Shiite Muslim organization remained a relevant factor in Lebanese society.
German Jewish leaders recently called on Merkel to fully outlaw Hezbollah. Similarly, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Germany to follow in Britain’s footsteps during a recent meeting in Berlin with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.