Controversy over anti-Semitism in the Alternative for Germany party has escalated into a split in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Jan Riebe has carried out extensive research on the AfD and anti-Semitic trends.
DW: You work for the Amadeu Antonio Foundation, where you have been researching anti-Semitism within the Alternative for Germany (AfD). How would you summarize the situation?read more
Jan Riebe: The AfD is not a genuinely anti-Semitic party. That would mean that the party is actually being held together by anti-Semitic sentiments, but this is not the case. However, many AfD members do share anti-Semitic ideas; they have an anti-Semitic view of the world, meaning that they believe that Jews are the masterminds of all evil. So, in that sense, anti-Semitism does play an essential role in the AfD.
What evidence of anti-Semitism have you found within the AfD?
You can always find clearly anti-Semitic remarks made by AfD members on the internet - for example, on Facebook. A former member of the AfD executive in the Weserbergland region, Gunnar Baumgart, once wrote in an article that that Zyklon B was used to protect lives and that not a single Jew was killed by it.
Dirk Hoffmann, a party executive in Saxony-Anhalt, criticized Israeli activities in the Palestinian territories by saying that they are the equivalent of the Holocaust. At the moment, it is also popular within the AfD to blame Jews, in general or as individuals, for migration to Europe - i.e., the refugees who come to Europe. It is said that this is a Jewish plan. Familiar anti-Semitic stereotypes can repeatedly be found within the AfD.