Initiative provoked an uproar in Germany. The far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) on Sunday, October 7 has a section “Jewish”. The party said a group of 19 had formed “Jews in the AfD”, and that anyone joining had to be a card-carrying member of the party who was either ethnically or religiously Jewish.
Daniel Rottmann, member of the AFD in Baden-Württemberg:
The AfD thus intends to oppose the immigration of Muslim men who, according to the party, have an anti-Semitic ideology.
The AfD’s deputy parliamentary group leader, Beatrix von Storch, hit back in an interview published on Sunday by the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.
Taking aim at the Central Council of Jews, she compared it to “official churches” that she dismissed as “part of the establishment”. The AfD positions itself as a group offering voters an alternative to the country’s established mainstream parties.
Capitalising on discontent over an influx of asylum seekers in 2015 and 2016, the AfD is the biggest opposition party in Germany with more than 90 seats in parliament.
Like many far-right parties in Europe and elsewhere, the AfD presents itself as staunchly supportive of Israel.
According to a wide-ranging poll commissioned by a group promoting German-Israeli relations, most AfD politicians profess to care deeply about Israel’s security, support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s demand that the Palestinians recognize Israel as a Jewish state, reject unilaterally recognizing a Palestinian state, and generally support a stronger relationship between Jerusalem and Berlin.
Nearly 90% of the 35 AfD members who were surveyed totally or somewhat support Chancellor Angela Merkel’s dictum that “Israel’s security is Germany’s raison d’etre.” Two said they oppose the statement and two had no opinion.
A quarter of those polled had been to Israel.