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May 09, 2018

Journalist: Hezbollah Shows ‘More Maturity’ Than Israel

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Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah


A Los Angeles Times special correspondent, Nabih Bulos, declared on Twitter on May 7, 2018, that Hezbollah (“Party of God”) shows “more maturity” than Israel. Hezbollah is a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed, U.S.-designated terrorist group that calls for Israel’s destruction and has murdered hundreds of Americans.

The reporter’s comments were made after the May 7, 2018 elections in Lebanon. Hezbollah has exercised de facto control over the Levantine state. The elections witnessed a strong showing by Hezbollah and its allies in Lebanon. However, as Tony Badran, analyst for the Washington D.C.-based think tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, noted in November 2017: “Hezbollah’s domination of the country is already complete.”

The organization—once described by then-U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage as the “‘A Team’ of terrorists”—is larger and more powerful than the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF). After the election, Jonathan Schanzer, a former U.S. Treasury Department terror analyst, noted as much, tweeting: “Hezbollah has an arsenal larger than most armies in the Middle East, it controls chunks of Lebanese territory and key assets, it can launch a war whenever it pleases without Lebanese buy-in, and now has increased control over Lebanese politics.”

Schanzer’s point about Hezbollah domination is correct. Lebanon’s president and commander-in-chief, Michel Aoun said in a Feb. 12, 2016 interview with Egypt’s CBC, that Hezbollah’s “arms are not contrary to the state project; otherwise we could have not tolerated it. It is an essential part of Lebanon’s defense.” Aoun has even described Hezbollah as a “complement” to the LAF. And as CAMERA has highlighted, the country’s armed forces have been caught aiding and working with the terror group.

Bulos, however, took exception to the interpretation that Hezbollah exerts strong control over Lebanon. The reporter, whose work has appeared in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, Al-Jazeera, among elsewhere, even made an astonishing statement about the terror group, tweeting to Schanzer that:

“How about you actually visit Lebanon, talk to Hezbollah, and see what they are firsthand? It’s a powerful armed group, yes, but it also has a strong social and political element that often shows more maturity than many other players in the region, including your allies.”

Bulos did not respond when asked if “your allies” was referring to the principal U.S. ally in the region: Israel. However, it seems to be a fair assumption that this was at least one of the countries that he was referring to.

Of course, many “powerful armed groups” have included “strong social and political elements,” including Nazis, neo-Nazis, the KKK, Hamas, and others. This does not make them “moderate” or “mature.”

For its part, Hezbollah has confirmed that all of its financial support comes from the Islamic Republic of Iran, which the U.S. State Department has listed as the chief state sponsor of terrorism. As CAMERA’s 2016 Backgrounder on the group has detailed, Hezbollah has an international reach, with operatives throughout Latin America, the Middle East, Europe, and Asia.

In the years after its 1982 creation, the group organized terror-training camps in Lebanon’s Bakaa Valley, in which other terrorists, including al-Qaeda members, received tutelage. Hezbollah was an early proponent of suicide bombings, and the group has kidnapped and murdered journalists, and perpetrated numerous terrorist attacks, including plane hijackings and blowing up both an Israeli embassy and a Jewish community center in Argentina, in 1992 and 1994, respectively. As CAMERA has recently noted ("Iran Has Sleeper Cells in the U.S.," April 20, 2018), the terror group has sleeper cells in the U.S., where it has also sought to perpetrate terrorist attacks.

Since the organization’s beginning, Hezbollah has instituted Islamist rule under many areas directly under its control. In 1987, the CIA reported that the sale or transport of liquor were prohibited in the Bekaa Valley, women were also forbidden from interacting with men in public, civil crimes are punished according to the Koran and Western education and influences are prohibited. In one example of the group’s vehement antisemitism, Hezbollah’s head, Hassan Nasrallah, stated on April 9, 2000 “The Jews invented the legend of the Nazi atrocities.”

It’s hard to see how a journalist can assert that Hezbollah has “more maturity” than a democratic U.S. ally like Israel and still maintain a modicum of credibility when reporting about the Middle East. But perhaps that is not a concern for Bulos, who was one of several American journalists to attend a conference in 2016 that was organized by a society run by Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s father-in-law (“Assad Regime’s Grotesque PR Conference in Damascus Uses Western Reporters to Whitewash War Crimes,” Tablet Magazine, Oct. 31, 2016). The purpose of that conference, according to Middle East analyst Lee Smith, was to raise “money for the [Assad] regime and its war effort, in part by relieving sanctions against major regime figures.” Assad has committed a number of war crimes against his own people; murdering thousands of civilians with chemical munitions and barrel bombs. He is also a state sponsor of terrorism.

Several U.S.-sanctioned Assad regime officials participated in the conference alongside Bulos and several other journalists.

Posted by SD at May 9, 2018 11:11 AM

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