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ZFA statement on listing of Hezbollah

The Zionist Federation of Australia welcomes the Government’s listing of Hezbollah in its entirety.

ZFA President Jeremy Leibler welcomed the development. “This is a vitally important step”, he said. “Hezbollah has targeted Jewish communities the world over. I thank the Minister, and also the bipartisan Intelligence and Security Committee, which unanimously recommended this outcome.”

The Intelligence and Security Committee is chaired by Senator James Paterson. While Senator Paterson’s leadership and commitment was integral to the Government making this decision, the ZFA acknowledges the considered contributions made by the entire, bipartisan Committee membership.

The ZFA submission to the Committee in May this year urged the entirety of Hezbollah to be proscribed.

The ZFA’s Director of Public Affairs Bren Carlill appeared before the Committee. Dr Carlill also welcomed news the entire organisation is now proscribed: “This important step aligns Australia’s position with its most important allies, and will help Australia assist its international partners in efforts to stop Hezbollah’s international terrorist and criminal activities”, he said. 

The ZFA also welcomed the listing of The Base. Mr Leibler said, “The rise of violent far-right hate groups is extremely worrying, and I thank the Minister for looking carefully at these groups, and proscribing those that meet the definition of terrorist organisation.”  

Since 2003, Australia had proscribed a small part of Hezbollah, its ‘External Security Organisation’. And while it is undoubtedly true that the ESO meets the definition of terrorist organisation, it is also clear that the organisation as a whole does. As Dr Carlill told the Intelligence and Security Committee in May this year,

“There is a wealth of quotes available from senior Hezbollah figures denying any distinction between its military, terrorist, political, business and social welfare divisions. Indeed, these officials have derided the West for inventing such distinctions.

Violence is an integral part of the organisation’s identity, its fundraising ability, its ability to influence Lebanese internal affairs and Iran’s perspective of it as a key proxy.

Not only is violence important to Hezbollah, but its military and terrorist activities are designed to complement its non-violent activities—and vice versa—inside and outside Lebanon.”

The ZFA submission to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s May review into Hezbollah is here.