WASHINGTON - World Jewish Congress CEO and Executive Vice President Robert Singer on Thursday urged the Organization of American States to formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization. In an address to the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism’s 18th Session, Singer said: “We must do everything in our power to prevent Hezbollah and its patron and principal funder, the government of Iran, from exploiting these potential funding sources to obtain a foothold in Central and South America, and from turning the OAS member countries into a battleground to advance their cause.”
“Hezbollah is not just a danger to Lebanon, Israel, and, Europe, but a threat to the security of all of us,” Singer added. “Terrorists do not target only specific minorities, but rather attack our society as a whole – Jews, Christians, and Muslim. It is imperative that all parts of civil society join together with governmental authorities to fight and defeat the forces behind this evil.”
Noting that countries including the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia and Bahrain recognize Hezbollah as a terrorist group, and the European Union designates its military wing as such, Singer said: “It is therefore critically important that the Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism as well as the OAS and its member states formally designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization… to give international law enforcement the necessary tools to track Hezbollah’s financial system and fundraising in the region, its recruitment system, and its other global activities.”
Singer also spoke of interfaith dialogue as a “critically important strategic tool to prevent extremist religious thinking, one of the catalysts of contemporary Jihadist terrorism. Constant and deep conversations with different faiths are a way to connect and prevent terrorist attacks.
Latin American Jewish Congress Executive Director Claudio Epelman, who is also the World Jewish Congress’ Commissioner on Interfaith Relations, joined Singer in underscoring the importance of such understanding as "an instrument of preservation of coexistence."
Epelman presented the forum with the 2017 Declaration of Córdoba, signed by the leading representative Jewish, Christian and Muslim organizations in Latin America, proclaiming the region an Interreligious Coexistence Zone, and lauded its efficacy as "a platform to maintain, sustain and deepen coexistence."