Jews worldwide have expressed indignation at Monday’s appointment of German Neo-Nazi Udo Voigt to the European Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee. Voigt is the former head of the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands (NDP) party, which has claimed that“no more than 340,000 Jews” died in the Holocaust.
While “Voigt’s membership in the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament may have been awarded to the leader of the German Neo-Nazi party NPD in accordance with parliamentary procedure,” it still “makes a mockery of everything all democratic forces hold dear,” Stephan Kramer, immediate past secretary-general of the German Zentralrat Der Juden told The Jerusalem Post.
“A person whose ideology is racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism, a dyed-in-the-wool enemy of democracy and freedom simply should not hold a seat on this committee – as he should not be a member of a democratic parliament at all,” Kramer continued, calling for a minimum “threshold percentage for parties entering the European Parliament.”
Following the announcement of the appointment, World Jewish Congress CEO Robert Singer urged the European Union to make “the necessary statutory changes” to prevent a such an event from recurring, adding his voice to the call for a minimum electoral threshold,
“That a neo-Nazi Holocaust denier like Voight could join the Parliament’s Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee, which is responsible for the protection of citizens’ rights, human rights, and measures to combat discrimination, is not only a travesty of justice, but an insult to the memory of all the victims of the Holocaust,” a spokesman for the Israeli Jewish Congress stated.
Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial museum likewise objected, asserting that someone who espouses a Nazi ideology and has professed admiration for Adolf Hitler “has no place on a committee committed to civil rights, neither in the European Parliament nor anywhere else.”
Such a step, said the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s senior Nazi hunter Efraim Zuroff, is comparable to “appointing a Ku Klux Klan Dragon to a committee to ensure the civil liberties of Afro-Americans.”
“One would imagine that Voigt's public statements in praise of Hitler and the Waffen-SS and his denial of the Shoa would have been sufficient to bar his entry to a committee whose primary purpose is the defense of justice and civil rights, but obviously that is not the case in contemporary Europe.”
Dr. Moshe Kantor, president of the European Jewish Congress, said that the appointment was the result of Europe’s failure to listen to Jewish entreaties to ban the NDP.
“We now see the results affecting the whole of Europe by this refusal to take action against hate, racist incitement and Holocaust denial,” he said.