In a local election in the German state of Hesse last week, mainstream parties, including Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and her coalition partner the Social Democratic Party (SPD), voted for a neo-Nazi to serve as a community representative.
Stefan Jagsch is a member of the neo-Nazi party National Democratic Party of Germany (NPD) that supports a boycott of the Jewish state. German media outlets on the weekend reported on the CDU, SPD and the Free Democratic Party politicians voting for Jagsch. He will represent the community Altenstadt, a municipality in the district Wetteraukreis, with about 2,500 citizens.
Seven members of the mainstream parties, who were present on Thursday at the vote, supported Jagsch. Two members of the CDU and SPD were not present at the vote. Jagsch will be the first point of contact for citizens with grievances and concerns.
The district chairman of the CDU Wetterau, Lucia Puttrich, and the chairman of the CDU Altenstadt, Sven Müller-Winter, said in a joint statement that the choice of a politician of this party was “unbelievable and unacceptable for the CDU.” SPD politicians also criticized the vote on Twitter.
The outrage over Jagsch’s vote comes amid a Friday scandal in Berlin with the city’s Social Democratic mayor. The mayor, Michael Mueller, welcomed his Iranian counterpart from Tehran, Pirouz Hanachi, who has participated in the antisemitic Al-Quds rally in Tehran calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
Joint efforts or similar activities among mainstream German parties and far-left and far-right parties typically merge in attacking Israel.
The Green Party, some of whose founders had roots in Nazism, has been engulfed in neo-Nazi scandals over the years.
In 2013, The Jerusalem Post reported on an initiative by NPD in a state parliament in 2012 to demarcate Israeli products. The language of neo-Nazi party closely resembled a 2013 Green Party Bundestag bill that would label Israeli products from settlements for punishment.
The labelling proposal by the Green Party and the EU in 2015 has since been deemed antisemitic by the Israeli government.
Omid Nouripour, a Green Party MP who is viewed as sympathetic toward Iran’s clerical regime, was a sponsor of the anti-Israel labeling measure. He denied on Twitter that he supports BDS.
In 2018, Friedrich Bode, a Protestant pastor and co-founder of the Green Party branch in Bremen, delivered a talk at a neo-Nazi party event in Karlshöfen, Lower Saxony. Bode supports the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state.
Benjamin Weinthal is a European correspondent at The Jerusalem Post and a fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.