Hezbollah Threats Against Israel And 'Zionists' In Wake Of Assassination Should Be Taken Seriously
New York, NY, February 14, 2008 … The escalating rhetoric from Hezbollah in the aftermath of the assassination of terrorist mastermind Imad Mugniyah is "a profoundly troubling development" that should be taken seriously, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today.
Hateful anti-Israel rhetoric figured prominently in the fiery speeches during today's mass funeral in southern Beirut, with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah blaming Israel for the death of Mugniyah and calling for "open war" against Israel and "the Zionists." Nasrallah and other leaders said the terrorist organization was prepared to retaliate "anywhere" against Israel.
"The hateful rhetoric is a profoundly troubling development, for we know the past record of Hezbollah followers and it is not unreasonable that they or others could take this as a call to action," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "In this interconnected world it is not just the tens of thousands of Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon who imbibed this vitriolic hatred, but a potential audience of millions across the Middle East and around the world.
"These threats should be taken seriously as incitement to violence. We know what Hezbollah is and what they are capable of doing. The international community must not remain silent in the face of these open threats against a sovereign nation and its citizens and supporters," added Mr. Foxman.
Nasrallah told a rally of 10,000 mourners that, "If the Zionists want war, then they shall have it. "Zionists, if you want an open war, then let it be an open war anywhere."
Mugniyah was alleged to have been behind some of the deadliest attacks against Western and Israeli targets around the world, including the devastating 1983 bombings of the American embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, and the 1992 and 1994 bombings of the Israeli embassy and a Jewish center in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He was killed by a car bomb in Damascus on February 13. No one has claimed responsibility for killing.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.