German far-right under fire for 'Jewish section'

Alternative for Germany announces it will create a Jewish section within the party.

Ben Ariel,

AfD party members
AfD party members
Reuters

The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party came under fire on Wednesday after it announced it will create a Jewish section within the party, The Associated Press reports.

One prominent Jewish student group accused the party of being “one of the biggest threats to Jewish ... life in Germany.”

“The AfD is not getting a kosher certificate from us,” the leader of the Jewish Students Union of Germany, Dalia Grinfeld, said.

She added her group is urging all Jews in Germany to join a protest rally next month in the central German city of Offenbach, where the party plans to launch its new “Jews in the AfD” section.

Despite repeatedly downplaying the horrors of the Holocaust, the far-right party has acquired some Jewish members who are drawn to its rhetoric against Muslim immigrants.

“The AfD is the only party in Germany that makes anti-Semitism by Muslims a topic without trivializing it,” Dimitri Schulz, a Jew and founding member of the planned Jewish AfD section, qas quoted as having told the German news agency dpa.

It remains unclear how many AfD members are Jewish or how many of them plan to participate in the Afd sections founding meeting on October 7.

The AfD captured nearly 13 percent of the vote and almost 100 seats in parliament in the election in September of 2017.

The party has a history of controversial statements. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.

He also criticized the Holocaust memorial in Berlin, saying, "We Germans, our people, are the only people in the world who have planted a monument of shame in the heart of the capital.”

Germany's vice chancellor, Sigmar Gabriel, blasted Hoecke over the remarks, saying, "This is not just some kind of provocation. We must never let this kind of demagoguery be undisputed.”

Germany's Central Council of Jews criticized Hoecke as well and accused him of trampling on the six million Jewish Holocaust victims murdered by the Nazis.

Hoecke ultimately apologized for his controversial remarks. In June, AfD leaders ended a drive to have Hoecke expelled.




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