WASHINGTON - Ahead of the 26th anniversary of Hezbollah's AMIA bombing, the Anti-Defamation League sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, urging him to designate Hezbollah as an Entity of Particular Concern for International Religious Freedom, "due to its ongoing efforts to destroy Israel and target Jewish communities."
Eighty-five people were murdered, and hundreds were injured in the suicide bomb attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires on July 18, 1994. "Hezbollah is notoriously responsible for the single worst attack in recent decades against a Jewish communal institution anywhere in the world," the letter reads.
Sharon Nazarian, ADL's senior vice president for International Affairs, wrote Pompeo that not a single one of Iran's terrorist proxies has been added yet to this list. "We write to encourage you to designate Hezbollah as an Entity of Particular Concern under the Frank Wolf International Religious Freedom Act," she wrote.
The letter indicates that Christians comprised approximately 59% of Lebanon's population in 1932, but by last year this figure fell to an estimated 31%. "In recent decades, one major factor driving the disproportionate emigration of Christians from Lebanon has no doubt been Hezbollah's violent and intolerant agenda."
Nazarian wrote that the list would be even longer if its criteria were expanded to include Hezbollah's many plots against Israeli civilians abroad not targeting the local Jewish communities, such as Hezbollah's 2012 bombing in Bulgaria that killed five Israeli tourists and their driver. "But focusing only on Hezbollah's danger to Jews outside Israel would ignore that it is also responsible for countless attacks targeting Jewish civilians inside Israel," the letter reads. "These acts reflect Hezbollah's founding commitment to destroy the Jewish state and Hezbollah's ongoing demand for nearly all Jews in Israel to flee their religious homeland."
The ADL noted that The Frank Wolf Act calls for designating "any non-state actors" abroad "that have engaged in particularly severe violations of religious freedom," which US law defines as "systematic, ongoing, egregious violations of religious freedom" such as torture, prolonged detention without charges and abduction. "Hezbollah's longstanding, ongoing actions outlined above clearly fit these criteria," Nazarian wrote.