After Germany ban, Amnesty Finland board member defends Hezbollah: Israel is worse

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Finnish physicist Syksy Rasanen, a board member of human rights organization Amnesty Finland, took to Twitter to defend Lebanese group Hezbollah after Germany banned it last week, saying that Israel was comparatively worse.

Rasanen, who is also the chairman of the Finnish branch of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD) which aims to “end Israeli occupation and apartheid,” said that Germany’s ban on Hezbollah “is a perfect illustration of how terrorist lists are tools of power politics.”

Germany had announced on Thursday it designated the Lebanese militant and political group Hezbollah a terrorist organization, banning all of its activities in the country and carrying out raids on sites the police said were linked to the group.

Special police investigates the Hezbollah linked Imam Mahdi center in Muenster, western Germany, Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP)

Special police investigates the Hezbollah linked Imam Mahdi center in Muenster, western Germany, Thursday, April 30, 2020. (AP)

 

Rasanen said that Hezbollah was banned because it “calls for the violent elimination of the State of Israel and questions the right of the State of Israel to exist,” meanwhile Israeli parties “have been implementing the elimination of Palestine, not just [calling] for it.”

He added that instead of the European Union and Germany labeling Israel parties such as Likud, Yesh Atid, Shas and Labor as “terrorists,” they are considered “valued partners.”

The Finnish physicist went on to say that “Syrian Islamist rebel groups, which not only called for but fought to bring down the Syrian government were not labeled terrorists by the EU.”

 

His comments garnered backlash on Twitter, with users calling him an “anti-semite,” and saying he was “defending terrorists.”

Hillel Neuer, head of the NGO UN Watch, tweeted: “Hi @amnesty, in the rant below your board member in Finland is openly siding with Hezbollah, which has played a key role in murdering 500,000 Syrians. Just FYI.”

 

 

Rasanen responded to the criticism in another thread on Twitter saying that “the comments (many of them vulgar) on this post are an example of targeted insult campaigns from supporters of Israeli apartheid.”

“Still, this is minor compared to what Palestinian human rights defenders face: they have faced a systematic campaign of imprisonment, torture, (not just character) assassination for decades,” he added.

Lebanon rejects German ban on Hezbollah

Lebanon’s foreign minister Nassif Hitti summoned on Tuesday the German ambassador calling for an explanation of Berlin’s decision to ban the Hezbollah movement.

Hitti affirmed that “Hezbollah is a main political component in Lebanon which represents a wide section of the people and part of parliament,” his office said on Tuesday.

Hitti’s action came after Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of Hezbollah, a military and political group which is one of the Lebanese government’s main backers, accused Germany of bowing to US pressure.

Nasrallah said in a televised speech that Hezbollah had no official presence in Europe.

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanese group Hezbollah, makes a televised speech. (File photo: AP)

Hassan Nasrallah, leader of Lebanese group Hezbollah, makes a televised speech. (File photo: AP)

 

Iran has condemned Germany’s action, saying the European country was paying a “historical debt” to Israel by banning Hezbollah, while Israel urged other EU countries to take similar action.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed Germany’s decision, posting on Twitter: “I welcome the decision of the German government to outlaw the Hezbollah terrorist organization. Germany is thus joining countries such as the US, Britain, Canada, Australia and countries in Latin America, that have already taken this step.”

 

 

 

With Reuters

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