Pro-Israel ‘force of nature’ US ambassador to Germany steps down

For Israel, Grenell was the most significant US ambassador in Europe with respect to fighting contemporary antisemitism and moving security interests forward for Israeli and Western interests.

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Allen Grenell is pictured in Berlin, Germany, June 4, 2018. Picture taken June 4, 2018. (photo credit: REUTERS)
U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Allen Grenell is pictured in Berlin, Germany, June 4, 2018. Picture taken June 4, 2018.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
BERLIN - The departure of US ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell this week prompted a wave of accolades for his diplomatic work from important Israeli ambassadors based in continental Europe.
Grenell’s robust diplomacy to advance human freedom will be deeply missed in Europe. He served as US President Donald Trump’s go-to ambassador for the continent. Within a mere two years, he quickly earned kudos as a “force of nature” who secured diplomatic results.
For Israel, Grenell was the most significant US ambassador in Europe with respect to fighting contemporary antisemitism and moving security interests forward for Israeli and Western interests.
Take, for example, Germany’s designation last month of Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
Grenell pursued, with laser-like focus, an entire ban of the Lebanese terrorist movement Hezbollah within Germany’s borders. Without Grenell’s intense plan, the German authorities would not have proscribed the Lebanese Shi’ite organization a terrorist entity.
Jeremy Issacharoff, Israel’s ambassador to Germany, tweeted : “Richard Grenell, your deep friendship towards Laura and myself and the State of Israel will always be appreciated. We will miss you and Matt in Berlin and wish you both much success in your next steps wherever they may lead. L’chaim dear friends.”

Emmanuel Nahshon, another veteran Israeli diplomat who is ambassador to Belgium and Luxembourg and formerly served as the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry, tweeted: “To me, Richard Grenell is a model of effective, courageous and honest diplomacy, with an optimal use of modern platforms of communication. An inspiration.”

The prominent US philosopher Sidney Hook famously said, “Freedom is a fighting word.” Grenell internalized the Hookian concept of embracing the liberty struggle.
For a part of German political culture, the concept of “Freedom is a fighting word” got some German politicians and journalists bent out of shape, largely because Germany, in contrast to a number of other modern democracies, never experienced a meaningful fight for its liberty, press freedoms and democracy.
Grenell used coercive diplomacy to reassert American interests and the interests of a democratic, capitalist system that seeks to blunt tyrannical assaults from China, Russia and the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Grenell convinced Germany to ban Iran’s Mahan Air from Germany in 2019. With the Mahan ban, Grenell likely helped reduce the number of coronavirus cases in Germany due to Mahan Air being a primary global carrier of the virus. BBC Arabic reported that the US-sanctioned Mahan Air ignored travel and safety restrictions, enabling the first cases of the deadly coronavirus to spread into Iraq and Lebanon via its planes. The US sanctioned Mahan Air for its material support for terrorism.
Prior to the coronavirus outbreak that originated in China – and whose containment was deeply mismanaged by the Chinese communist party – Grenell waged a campaign to block German Chancellor Angela Merkel from delivering Germany’s 5G wireless network to China’s telecommunications giant, Huawei.
If China’s regime gains control over Germany’s 5G system, it will compromise western security. Post-coronavirus, Grenell’s anti-Huawei agenda proves to be fundamentally correct. Grenell raised public German consciousness about the dangers of Huawei.
The same holds for Grenell’s opposition to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Nord Stream 2 energy project that will ensure that Germany is dependent on an anti-Western non-democracy for its energy needs.
Grenell’s agenda is, of course, the agenda of the US government and, it should be noted, many European countries that, for example, view Nord Stream 2 as endangering EU and international security.
The ambassador also influenced a dramatic change in Germany’s defense budget, leading to a German increase in military spending to eventually meet its NATO obligation of devoting 2% of GDP to fulfil its defense spending benchmark by 2024.
The list of Grenell’s accomplishments in Europe is long and could absorb a great deal of newspaper ink and digital space. An overlooked early result was Grenell’s success is securing Merkel to accept a Nazi evicted from Queens, New York. The ambassador, a fierce bureaucratic fighter, overcame years of protracted litigation to deport the Nazi, Jakiw Palij.
Efraim Zuroff, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s chief Nazi hunter, tweeted about Grenell’s departure: “What a shame, Grenell was probably the best ambassador to Germany in recent years to represent the US in Bonn or Berlin!!”

Noah Barkin, the managing editor of the Rhodium Group, an independent research provider, wrote: “Grenexit. Germany breathes a collective sigh of relief.”
Grenell’s response to Barkin went viral: “You make a big mistake if you think the American pressure is off. You don’t know Americans.”
Barkin ignored, for example, the series of tweets from Björn Stritzel, a journalist for Germany’s largest paper Bild, who praised Grenell on Twitter.
“Grenell’s support for the weak, disenfranchised and oppressed is American in the best sense, which is why he was an excellent representative of the United States – and a hate figure for those enemies of freedom where reeducation has not caught on,” wrote Stritzel.
Last year, Grenell launched an international campaign to decriminalize homosexuality across the globe and has met with Iranian dissidents in Berlin who seek to promote democracy in the highly repressive Iranian-regime controlled society. Grenell is believed to be the first openly gay member of a presidential cabinet in the history of the US government.
Stritzel’s comment resonate in light of the widespread anti-Americanism in Gemany that has openly flourished in the federal republic over the last 50 years. The attacks on Grenell from commentators like Holger Schmale, who wrote a column for the Berliner Zeitung titled “Richard Grenell leaves - good news” argued for  more daylight between the US and Germany that is frequently aligned with despotic regimes.
Schmale’s Berliner Zeitung commentary urged stronger “development” of relations with Russia and China. Unsurprisingly,  it is worth noting that the paper is owned by Holger Friedrich, a former domestic spy for the dreaded East German socialist state police, the Stasi.
German Jews and Germans combating Jew-hatred cherished Grenell’s vital role in fighting the antisemitic Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement targeting Israel, his speeches against UN-sponsored bias targeting Israel and his assertive sanctions strategy toward Iran’s regime—the worst state-sponsor of terrorism, Holocaust denial, and antisemitism.
Elio Adler, the head of the German Jewish organization, Values Initiative, tweeted : “Thank you Richard Grenell for your personal friendship to the Jewish people, Israel and the free world.”
A force of nature is a rarity in the European diplomatic world. Grenell’s unstoppable energy will now continue full-time on the other side of the Atlantic where the sky’s the limit for the ambassador.