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North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU): "It really gets on my nerves how mendacious the action is here"

Photo: Rolf Vennenbernd / dpa

North Rhine-Westphalia's Interior Minister Herbert Reul (CDU) has accused the AfD of blatant anti-Semitism and mendacity. "I know no mercy on this subject. That means zero tolerance," Reul shouted in a heated state parliament debate about increasing anti-Semitism in the Düsseldorf state parliament. In the direction of the AfD, the visibly upset minister said: "It really gets on my nerves how mendacious people are acting here. It's almost unbearable." Reul was repeatedly interrupted by heckling from the AfD.

The occasion was a current hour at the request of the AfD about the sharp increase in anti-Semitic incidents in North Rhine-Westphalia since the terrorist attack on Israel by the Islamist Hamas on October 7.

Markus Wagner, a member of parliament for the AfD, accused politicians of a "blind and ideology-driven denial of reality" when it comes to anti-Semitism. In addition to the "local anti-Semitism", "additional anti-Semitism is unnecessarily allowed into the country through uncontrolled migration" (read a commentary on the subject here).

"I think it's outrageous that you're making such a request," Reul said. "If you have people in your own ranks who propagate anti-Semitism on a daily basis, you should stay quieter here. You have no reason at all to shout in between." The AfD is filing a motion to complain about anti-Semitism, and at the same time has state chairmen "who make the sharpest anti-Semitic statements," said the CDU minister. Anti-Semitism is documented in the AfD.

In 2021, a study concluded that anti-Semitism was part of the "programmatic core" of the AfD; The party's alleged solidarity" with the Jewish community and Israel merely serves as a vehicle for its "racist and anti-immigrant propaganda."

This August, the federal government's anti-Semitism commissioner, Felix Klein, said that the AfD tolerates anti-Semitism and leading forces that relativize the Holocaust. And Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews, said in October that the AfD had taken up the cause of xenophobia and racism.