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December 07, 2002

Canadian Jews target Hezbollah

If Hezbollah is not a terrorist group, then there is no such thing as terror groups. But it must be proven in court, it seems.
TORONTO, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Under the spotlight of a well-publicized lawsuit, Canadian leaders are accelerating their examination into whether fundraising by the Hezbollah should be allowed to continue or be banned.

The issue came to a head last week when Canada placed six groups, including the Palestinian-based Hamas on its list of banned terrorist organizations, but excluded Hezbollah.

That prompted a lawsuit against the government by the Jewish organization B'nai Brith, claiming that parliament was acting in contravention of its own anti-terrorism act.

Adding to the acrimony between Canadian Arabs and Jews, a registered Jewish charity, Magen David Alom, also came under government scrutiny. The group's charter states its purpose as raising funds to supply medical equipment and ambulances to Israel.

Although the organization has not been banned, Jewish groups worldwide posted protests on Web sites and with an e-mail campaign.

The Lebanese-based Hezbollah has two primary arms, the first being a humanitarian operation that funds and runs schools and hospitals in southern Lebanon, and the second being both political and military in nature, including the "External Security Organization," known for terrorist acts.

The United States has banned all fundraising by groups associated with Hezbollah, while Canada and Britain have only banned the military wing. The United Nations includes all of Hezbollah on its list of 200 known terrorist operations.

Until now, the Canadian government's position has been that apart from its humanitarian work, Hezbollah is a valid political party in Lebanon, with 12 elected members in its National Assembly. But Frank Dimant, executive vice president of B'nai Brith told the Globe and Mail that position is absurd.

"The Nazis were also elected and had social services and a youth wing," he said.