[New York, NY – March 1st, 2022] The American Jewish Congress calls on the United States to re-designate Ansar Allah, commonly referred to as the Houthis, as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. Armed, trained, and provided with material support from Iran, the Houthis have transformed into an Iranian proxy that undermines Middle East security and has directly attacked American partners in the region, including partners that are part of the U.S.-facilitated Abraham Accords with Israel.
In February 2021, the United States revoked the group’s terrorist designation and lifted sanctions against them due to concerns that the listing limited the provision of humanitarian aid to the beleaguered Yemeni people. The hope was that the Houthis would moderate their behavior and sit at the negotiating table to seek a reasonable and diplomatic solution to a war that has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. However, that hope has not materialized.
On the contrary, the Iran-backed Houthis are today more violent and aggressive than ever. Since their delisting, the Houthis have furthered their offensives in Yemen and seized territory through violence. Moreover, they have continued their terrorism. In November 2021 they stormed the U.S. embassy in Yemen. In January 2022 they escalated through a series of deadly missile attacks and drone strikes against the United Arab Emirates, including by firing a ballistic missile towards the Gulf nation during the landmark visit there of Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
We share the humanitarian concerns about Yemeni civilians, the true victims of the ongoing civil war and famine, and we urge the Biden Administration to make sure that humanitarian aid continues and is received by civilians who truly need it, and not combatants and terrorists.  
However, at the same time, it has become clear that concrete actions must be taken to confront the Houthis’ belligerence. The terrorist designation and sanctioning of the Houthis and their leadership would curtail their financial operations and access to armaments and would help counter Iran’s influence in the region. The intransigence and terrorist actions the Houthis prolong the deadly conflict Yemen and risk the spillover of violence in the broader region. They cannot be allowed to continue unchallenged in this path.

© 2020 American Jewish Congress.