A neo-Nazi member of Germany’s parliament who has been charged by police with inciting hatred against Muslims is a big fan of Israel.
Beatrix von Storch was suspended from Twitter and Facebook after she slammed police in the city of Cologne for this tweet – one of several put out in various languages – wishing the city’s residents happy new year in Arabic:In response, von Storch accused the Cologne police of trying to “appease the barbaric, gang-raping hordes of Muslim men.”
This was an apparent reference to a spate of alleged sexual assaults that were blamed on men from Muslim-majority countries in the city on New Year’s Eve two years ago, and that then fueled exaggerated or outright fabricated claims against immigrants in other parts of Germany.
Police have filed a criminal complaint against von Storch for hate speech.
Neo-Nazis embrace Israel
Von Storch is the deputy leader of Alternative for Germany – known by its German initials AfD – the neo-Nazi party that won almost 100 seats in Germany’s general election last September, prompting alarm from the country’s Jewish community.
Like their neo-Nazi counterparts who just joined the government of neighboring Austria, AfD has been cozying up to Israel – a philosemitic stance that aims to rebrand the anti-Semitic far-right as defenders of Jews against a supposed Muslim threat.
Their embrace has been reciprocated by politicians in Israel’s ruling Likud party.
A granddaughter of Hitler’s last finance minister, von Storch told The Jerusalem Report last September that “For historical and cultural reasons, we will always look for good relations and close cooperation with Israel.”
She has been very explicit not only about her party’s support for Israel, but also that hatred of Muslims is one of the values she shares with its Zionist ideology.
“Both anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism are strongest in the Islamic community, as well as the Left,” she explained. “They reject the fact that the Judeo-Christian foundations of European civilization are instrumental to its success. We recognize the threat they pose to both Israel and Germany’s Jewish community and their safety is a high priority for us.”
Von Storch concluded that “Israel could be a role model for Germany” as a country that “makes efforts to preserve its unique culture and traditions.”
This echoes closely the line of American neo-Nazi demagogue Richard Spencer who speaks of Zionism as a key model for the kind of Aryan homeland he seeks to create under the guise of preserving “European” culture.
Not surprisingly, von Storch’s Jerusalem Report interview was promoted approvingly by Breitbart, a major platform for racism and white supremacy.
Israel as racist model
Von Storch’s identification with Israel is a symptom of the long-standing alliance between the right, and even anti-Semites, on the one hand, and Zionism and Israel, on the other.
This alliance has recently found new life in a common hatred of Muslims.
Yet while many mainstream commentators in Germany can be expected to express horror at von Storch’s anti-Muslim incitement, few dare speak out in criticism of Israel – including its prominent role in fomenting xenophobia and hatred of Muslims as part of its effort to push Europe further into its far-right camp.
Indeed, Germany’s establishment appears to be less tolerant than ever of advocacy for full, equal civil, political and human rights for Palestinians. In December, the city council in Munich passed a measure smearing the BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee had written to city councillors to explain that the definition of anti-Semitism cited in the resolution is one drawn up by Israel lobbyists to deliberately conflate criticism of Israel with anti-Semitism.
Yet there do appear to be cracks. Foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel is under intense attack from Israel for stating a simple truth. Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan, who is also in charge of combatting the BDS movement, accused Gabriel of engaging in speech that “demonizes and delegitimizes the Jewish state.”
Gabriel reportedly told a group of Muslim representatives in December that when he visited the occupied West Bank city of Hebron a few years ago, what he witnessed reminded him of apartheid.