In a recent reversal, the United Kingdom outlawed Hizballah’s “political wing” from operating within its borders, after over a decade of considering only its “military wing” a terrorist organization. Yet, write Mark Dubowitz and Benjamin Weinthal, other European countries refuse to follow suit:
On Friday, the German government rebuffed requests from the U.S., Israel, and a number of Arab countries to outlaw all of Hizballah. Europe’s . . . approach to Hizballah puts it at odds with reality—not to mention Hizballah leaders’ own view of their group. . . . The partial ban prompted the Hizballah spokesman Ibrahim Mousawi to repeat what other top officials of the group have stressed over the years: “Hizballah is a single, large organization. We have no wings that are separate from one another.” . . .
But the EU, [along with Germany, has] continued to ignore Hizballah’s self-described identity as a unitary organization. The rationale: Europe, in particular France and Germany, desired to continue a “critical dialogue.”. . .
As the main economic engine of Europe, Germany could influence a change in EU policy toward Hizballah. [Moreover], Germany has long been a hotbed of Hizballah activity. The organization’s representatives raise funds, recruit members and spread a lethal anti-Semitic and jihadist ideology. . . .
The real reason Germany (and the EU) hesitate to ban the whole of Hizballah has to do with appeasing Iran, Hizballah’s sponsor. Berlin is well aware that Hizballah is tied at the navel to Tehran. . . . That treasured friendship was on display last month when German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier sent a warm congratulatory telegram to Tehran to honor the 40th anniversary of the founding of the Islamic Republic.