The rise of Germany’s new right-wing party

Jewish Journal, September 1, 2016

Germans are following the Trump-Clinton showdown in the United States with interest, especially as Donald Trump has denigrated Hillary Clinton as “America’s Merkel,” saying Clinton would open U.S. borders to scores of Syrian refugees, as German Chancellor Angela Merkel did last September.

Yet Germans also have their own elections to follow, also charged by the immigration issue. The party known as Alternative for Germany (AfD), the only German party categorically challenging Merkel’s asylum policy, could see a meteoric rise in three regional parliamentary elections to be held in September. If it does, that could ultimately threaten the steady rule of Merkel’s party — the Christian Democrats (CDU) — whose support has plummeted since a group of migrants committed numerous sexual assaults last New Year’s Eve, and, more recently, after individual migrants committed a string of terrorist attacks on German soil.

In the run-up to the Berlin state elections on Sept.18, posters for the CDU, Social Democrats (SPD), Die Linke (The Left) and even the Pirates parties line the streets of Berlin, but while AfD is polling at about 10 percent in the German capital, its posters have only just begun to appear, high up and out of reach. According to party officials, they get torn down. Mention AfD in casual conversation in the traditionally left-wing Berlin, and someone will invariably throw out the words: Nazis. Racists. Anti-Semites.

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