Militarily, despite German bravado that it can afford for the U.S. to abandon them, the fact is that the U.S. has 33,000 troops and a nuclear arsenal stationed permanently in Germany to defend it. And without U.S. and Israeli intelligence assistance, the Europeans would be all but helpless to defend themselves against terror cells operating in Europe.

Senior U.S. officials attested that the EU’s policy on Iran is being steered by Germany. France was never particularly enthusiastic about the nuclear deal. Indeed, in 2013 and in 2015, French objections to the weak inspections regime and the JCPOA’s allowance of continued uranium enrichment nearly blocked the deal.

As for Britain, the officials maintain that British Prime Minister Theresa May is siding with Germany against the U.S. out of fear of harming Britain’s chances of negotiating a favorable Brexit deal.

Which brings us to the question of what is motivating the German government to side with Iran against Washington.

Germany has long been Iran’s protector in Europe. Merkel is the reason that the EU has refused to outlaw Hezbollah. Due to Germany, the EU made an artificial distinction between the Iranian proxy group’s “military wing” and its “civilian wing.” The latter is permitted to operate legally in EU member states. Hezbollah thus uses its presence in Europe to indoctrinate and recruit members and to fundraise. As the Jerusalem Post has reported, German intelligence estimates that there are 950 Hezbollah terrorists operating in Germany.

The U.S. officials claim that Merkel is siding with Iran against the U.S. because despite the fact that the JCPOA was a U.S. initiative, she views it as a European foreign policy achievement. She believes the JCPOA is proof that Europe can have a foreign policy independent of Washington.

It is notable in this vein that Merkel has chosen to adopt a policy of enabling Iran to acquire nuclear weapons, and to operate terror cells openly in Europe, as a mean of distinguishing Europe from America.

To a degree, this isn’t surprising. EU member states have only been able to coalesce around one common foreign policy: hostility to Israel.

Only last week, the EU issued an angry condemnation of Israel for announcing it was issuing permits for 382 new homes in its communities in Judea. The EU and European member states invest in excess of $125 million annually to support networks of anti-Israel NGOs in Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and Europe. These NGOs delegitimize Israel’s right to exist, support economic boycotts of Israel, work to turn Israel’s Arab citizens against their state,  and support Palestinian terror groups. At the UN, there are few anti-Israel initiatives that do not pass with European support.

Since the OPEC oil embargo in 1974, Western European countries have used their hostility towards Israel as a means to distinguish themselves from the U.S. It costs them nothing, since Israel is at a trade disadvantage with Europe. And it appeals to the antisemitic and anti-American sentiments held by a large percentage of Europeans.

Just two few days before Maas wrote his article calling for the EU to develop a new financial network to undermine U.S. sanctions and keep trading with Iran (and so enable the regime to survive, continue sponsoring terrorism and waging war while developing nuclear weapons), he visited the German death camp Auschwitz. While at the site of the largest death factory in human history, he said, “We need this place because our responsibility never ends.”

How odd, given the German government’s decision to pin its independence on its ability to help Iran’s regime overcome U.S. sanctions and develop the means to annihilate Israel and murder the six-and-a-half million Jews that live there.

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