Thousands gather in Berlin for AfD and anti-AfD protests

27 05 18

As thousands of people gathered in Berlin for pro and anti-AfD demos, the Secretary-General of the CDU said the populist Alternative for Germany party (AfD) is “a threat against Jewish life in Germany.”

Berlin AfD demonstration (picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nietfeld)

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German capital Berlin to protest against an AfD demonstration taking place at the same time. Police and organizers say around 3,000 protesters came out to voice their opposition to the populist party.

The AfD says between 2,500 and 5,000 party supporters are at the pro-AfD rally.

Various demos are taking place against the backdrop of a major pro-AfD rally for “freedom and democracy,” where leading AfD politicians like party chairmen Alexander Gauland and Jörg Meuthen are due to speak. DW correspondent Jefferson Chase said that the main theme emerging from the AfD’s demo was the rejection of Chancellor Merkel. Security has been beefed up throughout the city to avoid clashes between AfD supporters and their opponents. However, many of the protests against the AfD appeared to have peaceful and even fun themes, such as a “glitter demo” as well as a rally on boats on the River Spree.
CDU-leader accuses AfD of anti-Semitism


The Secretary-General of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union party (CDU), Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, meanwhile lashed out against the Alternative for Germany (AfD), accusing the populist opposition party of anti-Semitism.

She addressed the AfD squarely in an article in the weekly Bild am Sonntag newspaper, saying “there are anti-Semitists in all corners of your party.”

“Old Nazis, Neo-Nazis and right-wing populists – these kinds of people do not believe that human beings deserve to live in dignity as individuals. These people are a threat against Jewish life in Germany,” she wrote, adding that the AfD had brought “anti-Semitism into our parliaments.”

AfD fights back

AfD leader and spokesman Jörg Meuthen meanwhile rejected Kramp-Karrenbauer’s views, saying that it was her CDU party instead that was a threat to “Jewish life in this country with its migration policy allowing masses of people from the Islamic world to immigrate without any conditions.” Meuthen referred Merkel’s so-called open-door policy toward refugees and immigrants.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (CDU) (picture-alliance/dpa/K. Nietfeld)

Kramp-Karrenbauer said that there are no grounds for tolerating anti-Semitism in Germany

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, however, had also highlighted in the article she had penned that anti-Semitism was equally being “preached in mosques, perpetuated on TV screens and in YouTube videos and practiced on schoolyards.

“If this is something we didn’t pay attention to in the past, we’ll have to make up for it and pay more attention in the future – whether among people who are coming to us from abroad or among those who already are here,” she wrote in Bild am Sonntag.

‘Left-wing also complicit in anti-Semitism’

The 55-year-old politician also sharply criticized any attempts at boycotting Israel such as the worldwide “Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions” (BDS) campaign.

Jörg Meuthen (Reuters/H. Hanschke)AfD co-chair Jörg Meuthen believes that welcoming refugees in Germany poses the biggest threat to the Jewish community

In this context, she said that many left-leaning and left-extremist groupings hid their anti-Semitism behind a cloak of pretending to criticize certain actions of the state of Israel.

“Leftist and left-extremist activists speak of voicing their allegedly legitimate grievances at Israel while denying Israel’s right to exist.”

She added that when BDS activists shared slogans like “Do not buy from Jews” a line had to be drawn. That slogan had been adopted and popularized by Nazis in 1933 after Adolf Hitler’s rise to power.

CDU highlights Jewish life in Germany

With anti-Semitism on the rise in Germany, the CDU has decided to hold a special campaign entitled “Von Schabbat zu Schabbat” (“From Sabbath to Sabbath”) this week to show solidarity with Jews in Germany. Politicians from Chancellor Merkel’s CDU are planning to visit places of Jewish life in Germany and highlight the contributions of Jewish culture to Germany’s pluralistic society.

“Regardless of where it occurs, anti-Semitism must be met with a clear answer by our criminal law system,” Merkel said.

SOURCE: Deutsche Welle


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