U.S. Experts Discuss How to Combat Hezbollah’s Growing International Reach and Influence

The Los Angeles branch of the American Jewish Committee (AJC) — the leading Jewish advocacy organization in the United States — partnered with the Consulate General of Romania on May 28 at Wilshire Boulevard Temple to discuss Hezbollah’s vast terror reach and ways civil society and government officials can actively combat them.

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Nearly 200 people attended to hear the important, and timely, panel discussion with Lt. Gen (Ret.) and member of the Jewish Institute for National Security (JINSA) member John “Jocko” Toolan Jr., AJC Transatlantic Institute Director Daniel Schwammenthal, Southwestern Law School Professor, Lt. Col. of the U.S. Air Force (Ret.) and JINSA Hybrid Warfare Task Member Rachel VanLandingham, U.S. Army Judge Advocate General’s Corps Col (Ret.) and JINSA Hybrid Warfare Task Force member Ian Corey, and JINSA Managing Director Leo Nayfeld, who moderated the talk. Members of the French consulate and the Israel consulate were present as well.

“Hezbollah has one goal and it shares the same goal with other radical Islamic organizations and that is to establish an Islamic State where Sharia law rules supreme,” Schwammenthal said. “And they use a number of different tools to achieve that goal.”

Hezbollah was established in 1982 in Lebanon by Ali Akbar Mohtashemi—Iran’s then-ambassador to Syria; Imad Fayez Mughniyeh; Grand Ayatollah Muhammad Hussein Fadlallah; and Abbas al-Musawi. It has been Iran’s primary terrorist proxy for decades. It is also one of the world’s most notorious anti-Israel and anti-American radical groups. Its main places of operation are Lebanon, Syria, Germany, Mexico, Paraguay, Argentina, Brazil, Iran, and the United Arab Emirates.

Schwammenthal noted that terrorism is not Hezbollah’s only use of warfare and acknowledged the group’s use of political influence in Lebanon through “welfare organizations” which are used to provide “subsidized healthcare for the population in southern Lebanon.” He noted that Hezbollah gets a lot of help from Iran. “They do this in the same way as the mafia in Sicily.”

He noted the terrorist organization’s hand in transnational crimes like drug trafficking in South America, with drug cartels and money laundering. He said they also operate in Europe and that everyday people he’s spoken to there “recognize this problem” that dates back to the 19th century with immigrants who are with Hezbollah and are seeking to establish an Islamic caliphate there.

“While we pay a lot of attention to Sunni radical Islam, ISIS and Al Qaeda, we cannot ignore the similarities that exist between these two branches of radical Islam,” Schwammenthal said.

“Antisemitism is a core part of their belief,” Schwammenthal said. “Hezbollah is a wholly owned and funded organization of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He noted that, “as matter of fact, Khomeini was to a large degree inspired by radical Sunni ideas brought to him by Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.”

According to Matthew Levitt’s book “Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God,” Hezbollah originated, in the early 19080s, from an Iranian attempt to coalesce various Lebanese Shia militias around the goal of combating the U.S. and Israeli military presences in Lebanon. Levitt notes in his book that by 1985, the Central Intelligence Agency had declared that Iranian-sponsored terrorism was the greatest threat to American personnel and facilities in the Middle East.

Following intense pressure from the AJC and Congress, the European Union in 2013 designated Hezbollah’s military wing a terrorist organization. However, Hezbollah’s own leadership has also stated, matter-of-factly, that there is no distinction between the group’s political and military wings, which is why the international community is urging the EU to declare all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization.

In March 2016, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the Arab League officially designated the entirety of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization, joining the United States, Canada, Israel, and the Netherlands in making that determination.

Intelligence sources have indicated that Hezbollah has over 120,000 rockets and missiles prepared to be launched at Israel at any given moment.

Hezbollah “knows their civilians are going to die and they want that to happen so they can show the carnage” on social media and television, VanLandingham said. She referred to Hezbollah’s use of civilians in Southern Lebanon as human shields in response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks against them out of self-defense, in order to drive up civilization casualties to present to the world and international governing bodies; many of which have an established and intrinsic bias against Israel.

The panel also addressed concerns about how to push back against Hezbollah and to “counter the narrative that Hezbollah is the only force powerful enough [to control Lebanon].” This includes maintaining good relations with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). The group agreed that increased international condemnation for Hezbollah is also necessary as well as requiring Lebanon to disarm militias.

Another speaker said education is key, particularly in the Middle East, to help the civilian population understand what the challenges are.

The other grand challenge, Schwammenthal noted, was taking on the parallel propaganda war being propelled by the media which actually misportrays the conflict due to their bias against Israel. Schwammenthal also said, “Western diplomats must understand that their comments are “crucially important” in addressing and countering the misled “group think” that paints Hezbollah in a very different light than what it truly stands for and is, including its imminent and growing threat to the Middle East and the Western world. He said these politicians should not be pushed by the “misleading media coverage” of the actual issues on the ground.

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EXCLUSIVE: Trigger Happy on European Arrest Warrant Use, Romania Prepares For Key EU Role

Romania is scheduled to take on the rotating presidency of the European Union in 2019 despite the bloc’s criticisms of its alleged abuses of the controversial European Arrest Warrant (EAW).

Introduced by the EU in 2004, it permits any EU country to issue an arrest warrant to another EU country; many lawmakers have argued the EAW is “fundamentally flawed” and needs significant reform.

The EAW has been abused in the past. In November, Spain’s prosecutor called for the controversial law to be used against Catalan leader Carles Puigdemont and four members of his government after they refused to appear in court over accusations of the misappropriation of public funds, rebellion, and sedition. Puigdemont reportedly said the charge was politically motivated.

Brexit, the historic referendum during which the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU, would stop the country and its inhabitants from being subjected to this law. While the UK voted successfully to leave the EU, the details of the withdrawal have yet to be finalised, which leaves British citizens vulnerable to the European Arrest Warrant.

Last year, Gabriel Popoviciu, a Romanian businessman who fled the country for England as a fugitive, was sentenced to seven years in prison for real estate fraud. He was detained in London and reportedly turned himself in after Romanian police tracked him down there.

There are several of these cases in Romania. Human Rights Without Frontiers wrote that “Romania is one of the countries that is problematic” when it comes to EAWs and noted that “such circumstances put the unifying judicial system in Europe at grave risk”.

Last year, the European Court of Human Rights blasted Romania for its dismal prison conditions, calling them inhumane and degrading for overcrowded jail cells, unhygienic sanitary conditions, poor food, and being infested with rats and insects.

Under the European Convention on Human Rights, said conditions are forbidden.

The court reportedly said these poor conditions are “part of a general problem originating in a structural dysfunction specific to the Romanian prison system”.

The overcrowding and poor conditions in Romanian prisons resulted in the release of thousands of inmates last year, which reportedly included murderers, rapists, and pedophiles.

The Romanian government, to its credit, is working to crack down on corrupt individuals; however, many innocent individuals have seemingly gotten caught up in the process, which has sometimes been politicised.

One of the most prominent cases of this abuse of EAWs is perhaps that of Alexander Adamescu, the son of the late Romanian businessman, founder of the Nova Group, and of România Liberă, an independent Romanian newspaper, Dan Adamescu.

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România Liberă covered the U.S. presidential elections in 2016 and has covered Trump’s presidency since then. It published several articles that were favourable towards then-candidate Trump; a view that is rare in Romania where the mainstream media was against the billionaire real estate tycoon. Dan Adamescu also believed in Trump.

Dan Adamescu was arrested in 2016 and sentenced to four years and four months in prison for allegedly bribing judges at insolvency trials related to his companies. He died under house arrest in January 2017. However, Alexander Adamescu believes his father was targeted by the Romanian government for supporting a candidate that was opposed to the socialist president.

Now, Alexander faces a similar fate.

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Alexander has no formal relations with Romania except for the fact that his father lived there and România Liberă is there. He has been living in the United Kingdom since 2012 working as a playwright and is a German citizen with Jewish roots.

Adamescu believes Romania’s government has attacked the newspaper and today is trying to wrestle it away from the family in an attempt to nationalise it, which has all the makings of Communism returning to Romania.

Alexander has made the case through international arbitration that the family businesses should be the family’s and not the Romanian government’s.

The Romanian government has realised that the only way it can shut down the arbitration was to extradite Alexander as to ensure there is no one to represent the Adamescu family in court, and to quash the international arbitration between them.

One of the family businesses that the Romanian government took away from the family, was Astra Insurance. Reuters reported that since the government has taken the business away from the family, the company has gone bankrupt.

According to Alexander’s wife, 50,000 jobs were lost when the Romanian government took the company away from the Adamescu family. The company had 300 branches in Romania and was also operating in Hungary, Bratislava and Germany and grossed approximately 270 million Euros a year in revenue.

Romania-Insider reported that Romania’s Financial Supervisory Authority (ASF) “arbitrarily blocked the group’s efforts to recapitalize Astra Asigurari and that the National Anticorruption Directorate (DNA) abusively froze the group’s assets”.

A website named “Friends of Alexander Adamescu” has been created to help Alexander raise enough signatures to get him released from a prison in England and escape extradition at the hands of Romania’s government. The Romanian government is now trying to extradite Alexander to the country to prevent him from retaliating over its attempts to take over the family business.

“His crime was to challenge the Romanian state — for Romania’s mistreatment of his father, for the economic raid on the businesses his father built, and as an owner of the country’s independent România Liberă newspaper,” the website writes.

Although Alexander is not a Romanian citizen, the European Arrest Warrant allows any country to issue an arrest warrant for any country in the EU.

Alexander’s wife also said the Romanian judge who was assigned to Alexander’s case, and who issued a European Arrest Warrant against him, spent just 30 minutes reviewing his case file, which included more than 37 folders of documents.

It is possible that Romania is violating the internationally-recognised Magnitsky Act with their extradition attempt on Adamescu. Should the extradition request come to fruition, Alexander may face the same fate as his late father Dan.

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Pride and Prejudice

“One Nation Under God”

Only one nation has withstood the tests of time and displayed true, unabashed strength and magnificently triumphed in the face of death and destruction time and time again.

Through a history of exile, rampant jealousy and continuous carnage, they prevailed. When the whole world had turned their backs on them and they had nowhere to turn, they found a way to make it through another day.

When the Romans destructed the second temple and sold them into slavery, they did not reject their faith. Instead they evolved and absorbed those feelings of hate, loss and homelessness and used it to build a shield against the wrath of humankind.

The pride of the Jews has endless merit.

When Hitler and the Nazis were EXTERMINATING millions of them and the “revered” Mohandas Gandhi told the Jews that they should not resist death and instead offer themselves up without a fight concluding that “suffering voluntarily undergone will bring them an inner strength and joy,” and that this would teach the Nazis by example that good will prevail, the world sat back and listened as this anti-Semitic hero known for his “peaceful” antics took center stage.

Gandhi later went on to say that the “cry for the national home for the Jews does not make much appeal to me.” Jews, he said, should “make… their home where they are born.” And he even went so far as to call it “inhuman to impose the Jews on the Arabs.” That the Jews don’t even deserve their own homeland…ISRAEL! THIS is what the world calls “HERO?”

Fast-forward 80 years to a time where the strife for equality and human rights has reached a new and profound level and instead of standing in support of all they have triumphantly undertaken and achieved, a JOURNALIST Helen Thomas said in a candid interview that Jews in Israel should “get the hell out of Palestine” and go back HOME “to Germany, Poland and America…and everywhere else.”


The Jews should go back to the place that nearly EXTINCT them? They should return to the hate-filled, Nazi-laden, Jew-hating and destructing lands of Germany and Poland? And America…the place whose miserable excuse for a cabinet, that ill-advised then-President Roosevelt, basically egged on the despicable happenings for far too long?

The Jewish people should return to America, where “human rights” today is pushed along by a group of blinded anbesols who believe in a two-state solution and that the Palestinians should have their fair share of the land, when the ENTIRE MIDDLE EAST IS ANTI-JEWISH and anti-Israel and basically takes up one hundred times the amount of space Israel consumes?

The Jewish people should return to America where self-hating Jews like Rahm Emanuel and other leftists who voted for a man who is covered in anti-Jewish sentiment and whose first network interview was with an ARAB news station? That’s right…Jewish people who voted for Barack Hussein Obama and are now seeing what a bloody mistake they made.

The Jewish people may have pride and rightly so. But to deal with the heinous prejudice that has been haunting them since the dawning of their time, it’s going to take more than the world’s strongest army.

What do the Jewish people have behind them that makes them the subject and focus of such treacherous hate? They have GOD. ONE NATION UNDER GOD will stand united and never, ever fail. No matter how badly the world may want it.