August 20, 2012 | The Jerusalem Post

US Congresswoman Calls on EU to Ban Hezbollah

August 20, 2012 | The Jerusalem Post

US Congresswoman Calls on EU to Ban Hezbollah

The chairwoman of the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, Rep. Ileana Ros- Lehtinen (R-Florida), sent a letter – ahead of the annual Al-Qods Day marches in Europe on Saturday – to José Manuel Barroso, president of the European Commission, urging the EU to designate Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.

European Hezbollah supporters play a key role in the marches.

Ros-Lehtinen wrote, “Hezbollah has executed attacks in the Middle East, Europe, and Latin America, killing hundreds of people and wounding countless others.”

She added that a ban is warranted because of Hezbollah’s active weapons and financial support for a range of terrorist groups – including Hamas and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards.

A former social democratic deputy in the Bundestag, Gert Weisskirchen, spoke at the “No Al-Qods Day” rally on Saturday in Berlin and called on the EU “to stand with Israel, without ifs and ands.”

Germany’s domestic intelligence noted in a new report that the number of Hezbollah members increased from 900 in 2010 to a current figure of 950 radical Islamists.

Pro-Israel groups and speakers called on the German government on Saturday at the anti-Al-Qods Day protest to ban Hezbollah in the Federal Republic because it promotes terrorism and modern anti-Semitism.

A police official at the demonstration in the heart of downtown Berlin told The Jerusalem Post that a total of 340 pro-Israel demonstrators were present. Jörg Fischer- Aharon, a spokesman for the No Al-Qods Day coalition, told the Post that 400 pro- Israel supporters appeared at the event.

Police officials and attendees from the pro-Israel groups told the Post that 600 Islamists marched at the pro- Iran and pro-Hezbollah event. According to observers, the Islamists attracted 200 additional supporters at this year’s event. A number of the Islamists aligned themselves with the Assad regime in Syria.

Dr. Clemens Heni, a leading German expert on Islamic anti-Semitism, told the Post that “two of the most dangerous Islamic groups “organized the Al-Qods Day march.

Heni cited the Muslim- Markt and the Islamic Center in Hamburg, which are both pro- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He said it is a “scandal” that the authorities allowed the group to protest because they are aligned with Hezbollah.

“Every neo-Nazi demonstration that calls for the destruction of Israel would be banned,” he added, but the Islamists are permitted to agitate for the violent end of Israel.

Supporters of Hezbollah at the Al-Qods demonstration in Berlin sported yellow shirts with the group’s motto and a machine gun with the English word “Resistance.”

According to Hezbollah experts, the term “resistance” is employed to mean violence against Israel.

US and Israeli intelligence officials attributed the suicide bombing last month in Bulgaria’s Black Sea resort town of Burgas – that killed five Israelis tourists and their Bulgarian bus driver – to an Iranian-Hezbollah terrorist operation.

Sharon Adler, editor-in-chief of the Jewish women’s website AVIVA-Berlin, told the Post that the Al-Qods Day protest and the neo- Nazi party NPD should be banned.

Daniel Kilpert, a representatives of the Coordinating Council of German Non- Governmental Organizations against anti-Semitism, spoke at the protest. Kilpert told the Post that his organization was slated to send a letter to the Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Bundestag, urging the German government to outlaw Hezbollah. The German authorities, including its political class, however, have showed no appetite over the years for a ban of Hezbollah.

The head of Berlin’s 10,500-member Jewish community, Dr. Gideon Joffe, told the Post that there was a disconnect in German society.

The country “does not allow the questioning of the Shoah” in terms of denying its existence, but permits calls for the “destruction of Israel.”

Critics have long argued that Germany fails to address lethal Islamic anti- Semitism in the Federal Republic, largely because the country is consumed with mainly obsolete forms of anti-Semitism. Joffe urged the government to outlaw Al-Qods Day.

The Post observed two anti- Zionist Jews from the fringe group Netorei Karta marching with Hezbollah and Iran supporters. Reuven Cabelman, a spokesman for Netorei Karta, is thought to have been present. Cabelman, believed to be a convert to Judaism, is a diehard fan of Iran’s Islamic system.

It is unclear if the second Netorei Karta member, who was in a wheelchair, is also a convert to Judaism. At the march, the Netorei representatives promoted the message that “Judaism is not Zionism and Zionism is not Judaism.”

The Al-Qods Day marchers held signs in support of the anti-Israel German Nobel literature laureate Günter Grass. The author slammed Israel in a poem earlier this year and largely championed the cause of Iran’s regime.


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