The head of the German Jewish community said that the rise of the right-wing populist and anti-Muslim migrant AfD party was “frightening.” The Zentralrats der Juden in Deutschland (Central Council of German Jews, ZJD) has called for stronger action against the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), saying that (suicidal) Jews need to align themselves with Muslims against Germans who vote for that anti-Islam party.
NewObserver ZJD president Josef Schuster made the remarks at the Jewish Community Day (jüdischen Gemeindetag 2016) in Berlin. The ZJD is the official representative body of all Jews in Germany.
According to a report in Die Zeit newspaper, Schuster also warned against AfD attempts to woo the Jewish vote by “falsely claiming friendship with Israel.” This was a reference to the fact that some AfD politicians have dared to point out that all they want is immigration and border control policies.
Speaking at the Gemeindetag function, Schuster called upon “all Jews to raise their voices against right-wing populism.” The AfD is “gaining popularity in Germany,” he said, adding that that “party is based on division and exclusion.”
“If feelings against Muslims or the so-called elites is generated, then sooner or later it is generated against Jews as well,” Schuster continued. “The Central Council of Jews has also always worked for the interests of other minorities such as Muslims or Sinti and Roma,” he added.
Times of Israel The AFD, founded as an anti-EU party, has shifted to an anti-Islam and anti-migrant platform, protesting the arrival in Germany of a million asylum seekers in 2015.
Since 1945, no far-right party has managed to establish itself permanently in the German political landscape. But recent polls have given the AfD 10% to 15% support ahead of national elections next year.
Schuster said that if citizens worried about the huge refugee influx and about recent jihadist attacks, then “to an extent this is understandable, but no reason to vote for the AfD.”
Breitbart Schuster’s hypocrisy, however, is evident in his statement from Oct. 2015: “Migrants from countries hostile to Israel may strengthen anti-Semitism in Europe.”
“Among those seeking asylum in Germany, a large number come from countries in which they hear about Israel the bogeyman. They have grown up with this hostility to Israel and often transfer their resentment to Jews in general,” Schuster explained.
As a result, Jewish communities now fear the rise of “Arabic anti-Semitism” in Germany. At the same time Schuster and others in the CCJG support Merkel’s ‘open-door’ policy, despite their professed view that a rejection of all forms of anti-Semitism and solidarity with Israel are basic tenets of the German Federal Republic.
Rather than questioning Angela Merkel’s open door invitation to Syrian migration the answer for Schuster is to “integrate refugees into [the German] community of values as fast and as hard as possible. (Oh, right, because that has worked so well wherever its been tried. NOT)
Jewish Journal But Michael Klonovsky, an author, poet and veteran journalist who recently came on board to assist with AfD branding and messaging, told the Journal in an interview in Berlin that the AfD has and will continue to own up to, reject and, in the case of Gedeon, eject anti-Semitism from within its party.
“There are half as many anti-Semites in the AfD than you would find in the Left party,” he said. Himself married to an Israeli-Russian pianist, he said he would not have worked for a party that was anti-Israel or anti-Jewish. “The Green Party in Germany is always stigmatizing Israel. but the AfD does not. The AfD is careful to exclude anti-Semites. Never has a party in Germany brought in so many anti-Semites to its ranks than the Christian Democratic Union (Merkel’s party).”
By CDU’s “anti-Semites,” he is referring to the 1 million Muslim refugees and alleged opportunists from Muslim Arab countries who have poured into Germany since last year. Israel does not officially figure into AfD’s platform; its target is Islam, a religion the party views as at odds with German values, law and society. While the AfD emerged in 2013 as a Euro-skeptic party opposing Merkel’s bailout of Greece, it has since evolved and grown as the only party strongly opposing Muslim immigration.
Henryk Broder, a prominent pro-Israel, German-Jewish columnist for Die Welt, believes the organized Jewish community’s concern with the AfD is imbalanced, symptomatic of a “ghetto mentality.” Echoing Klonovsky, a personal friend, he thinks Jewish groups should be far more concerned with the anti-Semitism, expressed in anti-Israel sentiment, of ruling left-wing parties.