Pompeo urges Germany to follow Britain's lead in outlawing Hezbollah

The German government ignored an urgent plea from the country’s Jewish community.

US SECRETARY of State Mike Pompeo speaks to students at the American University in Cairo (photo credit: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/REUTERS)
US SECRETARY of State Mike Pompeo speaks to students at the American University in Cairo
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged Germany on Friday to follow Britain in proscribing Lebanon’s Iran-backed Hezbollah as a terrorist group.
Pompeo told Merkel that he wishes Germany would “follow Britain’s example” and outlaw the terrorist group.
The United States is at odds with its German allies on a host of issues, from trade to military spending and nuclear non-proliferation.
Pompeo also weighed in on the kippah dispute that is roiling German society.
“We were concerned to see Jews discouraged from wearing the yarmulke in public out of safety concerns. None of us should shrink in the face of prejudice,” Pompeo said at a press conference in Berlin.
Last Saturday, Germany’s federal commissioner to combat antisemitism announced: “I can’t tell Jews to wear the kippah everywhere all the time in Germany.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her interior minister, Horst Seehofer, ignored an urgent plea from the country’s nearly 100,000-member Jewish community to outlaw Hezbollah.
When repeatedly asked last week by The Jerusalem Post if the German government – in response to a demand by the Central Council of Jews – plans to ban Hezbollah, Merkel and Seehofer refused to answer.
The president of the Council, Dr. Josef Schuster, said on Monday that “a full ban of Hezbollah’s organization has already happened in the Netherlands and the United Kingdom,” adding that “Hezbollah is heavily financed by Iran, and poses, in its entirety, a threat to the entire world.”
The US Embassy in Germany wrote on its Twitter feed on Monday: “Germany’s federal courts decided years ago that Hezbollah is a unified organization dedicated to the destruction of Israel. Symbols of Hezbollah are banned, why not the entire organization?”
The embassy also tweeted a comment from Ambassador Grenell who attended the counter-protest to the al-Quds March: “Anti-Zionism denies the legitimacy of the State of Israel and the Jewish people... We are going to be unequivocal in calling it what it is.”
The undersecretary in Germany’s Foreign Affairs Ministry, Niels Annen, said shortly after the UK banned Hezbollah in March that Germany won’t designate all of Hezbollah a terrorist organization. Annen celebrated Iran’s Islamic revolution at the Tehran Embassy in February. Iran’s regime is the chief financial sponsor of Hezbollah.
Seehofer and Berlin’s mayor, Michael Müller, initiated no legal action to ban Hezbollah and stop the pro-Hezbollah and pro-Iranian regime al-Quds Day rally on Saturday in Berlin.
Sources told the Post that US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell brings up the pressing need for Germany to outlaw all of Hezbollah in the federal republic at every meeting he attends with German officials.
Berlin authorities claim they won’t prevail in court with respect to a ban of the al-Quds Day rally. The anti-Western and anti-Israel rally calls for the destruction of the Jewish state. The authorities have declined to test the law.
Merkel told CNN on Tuesday that “There is to this day not a single synagogue, not a single daycare center for Jewish children, not a single school for Jewish children that does not need to be guarded by German policemen.”
The CNN interview did not ask Merkel about her consistent refusal to prescribe all of Hezbollah as a terrorist entity.
Pompeo’s visit to Germany had been scheduled earlier this month but was called off at the last minute as tensions rose over Iran, on whose nuclear program Berlin and Washington differ.