Alternative for Germany – AfD – a right-wing populist political party known for its opposition to membership in the EU and to immigration, on Sunday won a district council election in the district of Sonneberg, Thuringia, in central Germany.
With about 57,000 residents, Sonneberg is one of the smallest districts in Germany, but the AfD victory––the first ever in its history––is seen as a major breakthrough for the party.
In March 2021, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) placed AfD under surveillance as a suspected extremist group, but the courts blocked it. In 2022, the BfV was allowed to monitor AfD as a suspected extremist group, and the party’s appeal was dismissed by the court over “sufficient factual indications of anti-constitutional efforts within the AfD.” And so, to date, the AfD is under constant surveillance, its phones are tapped and probed, and it is definitely the boogeyman of German politics. And on Sunday the party won an election for the first time.
As a right-wing reporter, I shy away from official definitions of “right-wing extremists,” because they are an easy way for the establishment and the mainstream media to smear otherwise legitimate representatives of legitimate constituencies. And, initially, the AfD presented itself as “liberal-conservative,” which is a mindboggling concept for present-day Americans, but used to include great US politicians such as Republicans Jacob Javits, Nelson Rockefeller, and even, some would say, Richard Nixon. So, I checked what AfD had in store for Jews. Here goes:
According to Politico, AfD supports a ban on circumcision for non-medical reasons for underage individuals, suggesting that the practice composes a “serious violation of fundamental rights.”
And according to the Jerusalem Post, AfD supports a ban on kosher slaughter in Germany, as well as on the “import and sale of kosher meat.”
At the same time, AfD is pro-Israel and supported President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. But the State of Israel refuses to go near the AfD. That’s all Bibi needs now…
The Central Council of Jews in Germany was shocked by AfD’s historic success in Thuringia. Central Council President Josef Schuster told the Jüdische Allgemeine Zeitung: “The first election of an AfD candidate to an executive office – according to the preliminary result in Sonneberg – shakes me. To put it bluntly: not every AfD voter has right-wing extremist sentiments. But the party whose candidate they chose is right-wing extremist according to the State Office for the Protection of the Constitution.”
Björn Höcke, the AfD’s leader in Thuringia, said the win demonstrated the party’s momentum, and promised: “And then we’ll prepare for the state elections in the east, where we can really create a political earthquake.” He was, referring to state parliament elections in the eastern states of Saxony, Thuringia, and Brandenburg.
And as the immortal Lenny Cohen put it: “Then we take Berlin.”