The Central Council of Jews in Germany, the European Jewish Congress and numerous other Jewish organisations have issued a joint appeal against voting for the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in the upcoming German elections.
“Vote for an unquestionably democratic party on 26 September 2021 and help banish the AfD from the German Bundestag,” the appeal, published this morning, said.
“The elections to the Bundestag will be taking place in just over two weeks will decide whether the AfD can once again wreak havoc in the Bundestag, the heart of our democracy,” the appeal read. “A party in which antisemites and right-wing extremists are at homem a party where the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is investigating good reason. A party in which antisemitism, racism and misanthropy find their breeding ground.”
The appeal, whcih was supported by 60 Jewish associations goes on to say: “We are convinced that the AfD is a radical and anti-religious party. Politicians of the party relativise the Shoah. They regard minorities as inferior and divide our society. The AfD opposes the European Union and thus the European peace project. The AfD is not an alternative in the Bundestag elections!”
Among other co-signatories are the World Jewish Congress (WJC), the Claims Conference, the Orthodox Rabbinical Conference Germany (ORD), Maccabi Germany, the ZWST, the Union of Progressive Jews, the Abraham Geiger College, the Rabbinical Seminary Berlin, the Center for Jewish Studies Heidelberg as well as the various regional associations of Jewish communities in Germany.
The text explicitly emphasises aspects of the AfD’s election manifesto. There, the party is not concerned with “the needs of Jews in the country”, but with stigmatising Muslims as a threat to Jewish life.
“Jews serve in the AfD’s programme solely to give expression to the party’s anti-Muslim resentment,” the text of the statement reads. The AfD only uses Jews “to spread its racist and anti-Muslim slogans among the people. But we do not want to and will not be their fig leaf.”
Alluding to a statement by AfD parliamentary group leader Alexander Gauland, the statement continues: “The period of National Socialist tyranny with millions of Jews, Sinti and Roma, homosexuals and politically persecuted people killed is merely a ‘bird sh*t’ for the AfD parliamentary group leader. The attitude expressed in it trivialises the horrors of history in an intolerable way.”
In addition, AfD politicians have showed up at so-called “Querdenker” COVID protest movement demonstrations side by side with hooligans and right-wing extremists. “We, the undersigned Jewish associations and organisations and the Jews in Germany are as diverse as this country. We have different backgrounds, life stories and mother tongues. We represent different attitudes and political positions. We are shaped by different realities of life. What unites us all, however, is our conviction that the AfD is a danger to our country.”
There had already been a similar appeal before the last federal election – at that time, numerous Jewish associations had also pleaded against voting for the AfD. However, the party not only made it into the Bundestag, but also immediately became the strongest opposition faction. In the current polls, the far-right party is at 11 per cent, but would only become the fifth strongest force in the new parliament.