BERLIN, Germany — A Jewish student group has said it will protest the far-right Alternative for Germany’s plans to found a Jewish section within the party.
Jewish Students Union of Germany leader Dalia Grinfeld said Wednesday the party, known as AfD, “isn’t getting a kosher certificate from us” because it is one of the biggest threats to Jewish life in Germany.
The group plans to demonstrate in Offenbach next month, when the party launches its “Jews in the AfD” section.
Despite repeatedly downplaying of the horrors of the Holocaust, the party has acquired some Jewish members drawn to its rhetoric against Muslim immigrants.
Jewish AfD member Dimitri Schulz told German news agency dpa, “the AfD is the only party in Germany that makes anti-Semitism by Muslims a topic.”
According to the influential daily newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), an association of Jewish AfD supporters will announce its incorporation with an event on October 7.
Mainstream Jewish organizations and community leaders have condemned the AfD for its xenophobic views. In addition, some of its politicians have relativized the Holocaust and flirted with neo-Nazi groups, while claiming to be pro-Israel.
News of a Jewish AfD club was met with swift condemnation from the nonpartisan Jewish-German “Values Initiative,” which in a statement expressed “surprise and concern.”
“We believe that any involvement in this party is wrong, because it uses its alleged Jewish or Israeli friendship in particular to gain legitimacy for its agitation against Muslims,” according to the statement. It called the party’s failure to criticize its extreme right wing tantamount to an endorsement of neo-Nazism.
The new Jewish group would merely be used as “a fig leaf for coarse AfD racism,” the statement warned.
An AfD spokesperson told the FAZ newspaper that new members would be kicked out if they make anti-Semitic remarks.
JTA contributed to this report.