The two pariahs, Israel and AfD, should work together

While Israel struggles to form a new government, the AfD („Alternative for Germany“) party would like to congratulate the only democracy in the Middle East on its thriving, vibrant system of self-rule – even if it sometimes can be a headache.

Petr Bystron, | updated: 23:00

OpEds Germany's Bundestag
Germany's Bundestag
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We know that Israelis can often feel left alone amid a host of enemies, in world where everybody seems to be against them. Believe me, we know the feeling. In Europe, it has become consensus (especially on the left) to criticize Israel for merely trying to defend itself, while turning a blind eye to the aggression and human rights abuses of Hamas, Hezbollah and other neighboring states. 

We in the AfD are the only party in Germany to challenge this status quo. While our political opponents try to smear us as “fascist” or even “neo-Nazi”, we are actually a solidly conservative party which follows a political program very similar to that of the Christian Democrats before Angela Merkel took her party far to the left, and decided to open the borders for mass Islamic immigration – as even a study by the Christian Democrat related Hanns Seidel Foundation showed.

Just like the AfD, Israel is often slammed as being “racist”, “xenophobic” or even “fascist.” While Gaza militants send burning kites with swastikas on them over the fence to spark wildfires, leftists around the world portray Israel as an Apartheid State and draw parallels to the Nazi genocide. In reality, the patriots in Israel and Europe are the last bastion defending freedom and democracy.

While the left blames us for rising anti-Semitism in Germany, it is actually their policy of “No Borders” that is to blame. This summer, attacks on Jews have become a daily occurrence in Germany. Most of these attacks were committed by Muslim immigrants. Not a single attack came from an AfD member or sympathizer. Just for that, last month a gay Jewish AfD member was attacked at Potsdam train station merely for wearing a yarmulke. 

We are the only party that actively opposes this dangerous trend, and we find our natural allies and soul mates in Israel. As strongest opposition party in the German Bundestag, we have several ways to put pressure on the established anti-Israel lobby in Berlin. A few examples:

In March, we supported a bill by the Free Democrats to end Germany’s shameful pattern of anti-Israel voting in the United Nations. All the other parties voted against.

Then we drafted a bill that would outlaw BDS in Germany, especially naming the party foundations that support pro-BDS groups across the political spectrum. The AfD is the only party in Germany which does not support BDS-related groups. So the other parties had to draft their own watered-down anti-BDS bill

On June 6, we submitted a bill to ban Hezbollah in Germany. Rather than vote with the AfD, all the other parties in Germany chose to side with Hezbollah and defeat our bill.  

And this month, my colleague Beatrix von Storch revealed the German government has more than doubled its support for the corrupt UNRWA, from €80 million in 2017 to €173.2 million in 2018. We will continue to put pressure on the Berlin government over this. 

Even if the mainstream media never tells you the truth about the AfD’s pro-Israel policy, we believe actions speak louder than words. We will continue using our leverage in the Bundestag to force the Merkel government to put its money where its mouth is.

Unfortunately, one of our most vocal critics has been the Israeli ambassador to Berlin, Jeremy Issacharoff. Despite our offers of dialogue, the Ambassador has continued to smear the AfD as anti-Semitic, despite not being able to offer any evidence to support his claim. This week, the Ambassador again found it advisable to dabble in German party politics, giving an interview to the “Neue Westfälische”, a newspaper which is 100% owned by the left-wing Social Democrats, claiming the AfD seeks to “downplay the Holocaust.”

These claims always recycle a few quotes taken out of context. For example, Mr. Issacharoff – who has yet to denounce the anti-Israeli activities of his son Dean Issacharoff for “Breaking the Silence” – criticizes AfD Thuringia head Björn Höcke for calling for a “180-degree about-face” in German memorial culture, where the Holocaust is concerned. 

But actually, Höcke is exactly right: What Germany actually does need is a 180-degree about-face in dealing with Israel and the Jews: Away from dead monuments that help no one, and toward the living, breathing, struggling state of Israel, the only Holocaust monument that will ever matter! 

Leftists like President Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Heiko Maas prefer to give solemn speeches once a year on the liberation of Auschwitz and point fingers at the AfD, while hobnobbing with the terrorist regime in Tehran. But they would never be caught dead saying as we do: A strong, stable Israel is the only way to peace in the Middle East. Am Yisrael Chai.


 

Petr Bystron is the Speaker of the Alternative for Germany party (AfD) on the Foreign Policy Committee of the German Bundestag. He came to Germany in 1988 as a political refugee and joined the Euro-critical AfD in 2013. He was chair of the AfD for the State of Bavaria 2015-2018. Under his leadership the party reached the best tally of all states in West Germany in the federal elections 2017. He is a leading political publicist who has won several prizes for his writing and edited a book for University of Geneva with Polish Nobel Peace Prize winner Lech Wałęsa. He is currently one of the 10 most popular German politicians on social media.





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