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Jewish Backers Of Germany’s Far-Right Party Create New Source Of Support

(JTA) — Germany’s most influential far-right political party is fast gaining in popularity, and a group of Jews wants to add its voice of support.

According to the influential daily newspaper the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), an association of Jewish supporters of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party will announce its incorporation with an event on October 7.

The news – following polls showing the AfD as Germany’s second most popular party – came in a letter to the FAZ, the newspaper reported. The letter’s authors were not named.

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.

Apparently, among some Jews, fears of old-fashioned Nazism in the AfD are eclipsed by fears of new anti-Semitism among the more than 1 million Muslim refugees who have come to Germany since 2015.

News of a Jewish AfD club was met with swift condemnation from the non-partisan 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.

Alyssa Fisher is a news writer at the Forward. Email her at [email protected], or follow her on Twitter at @alyssalfisher

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