Historic first: German parliamentarian ousted for antisemitism

AfD party leader Alexander Gauland heavily criticized Brander's dismissal, saying: "I don't know where the scandal is … This [dismissal] is an affront to democracy."

Supporters of the Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) hold German flags during a protest in Berlin, Germany May 27, 2018 (photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
Supporters of the Anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) hold German flags during a protest in Berlin, Germany May 27, 2018
(photo credit: REUTERS/HANNIBAL HANSCHKE)
Stephan Brander, a member of Germany's far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD), has been ousted of his position as a palimantary committee chair over comments deemed antisemitic, in a move unprecedented in the modern history of the federal republic, according to DW.
Brander had previously served as the head of the legal affairs committee in Germany's lower parliamentary house, the Bundestag.
His dismissal was voted for by all groups within the Bundestag, except for AfD.
"Mr. Brandner was simply no longer acceptable," said Johannes Fechner, a parliamentary legal expert for the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).
"The dismissal of Brandner is a clear signal against incitement and hatred — we are finally returning dignity to the office," said Jan-Marco Luczak, deputy parliamentary spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats (CDU).
Brandner had been heavily criticized in early November across the political spectrum for tweeting that singer Udo Lindenberg, who had been awarded Germany's prestigious Federal Order of Merit, got a "Judas reward" for his very outspoken position "against us [the AfD]."
The German equivalent, Judaslohn, is used to mean a traitor's reward, similar to what is said in the Bible to have been paid to Judas Iscariot for his betrayal of Jesus. His Judas statement was interpreted as being antisemitic, especially in light of his comments made in October following the Halle shooting, questioning why politicians were holding candles in memorial outside of synagogues when the victims were German.
In addition, the party – which consists of right-wing populists – is infamous for their usage of Nazi-era terminology, such as Volksverräter ("traitor of the people), for suggesting some groups of people should be entsorgt (disposed of).
Following his ousting, Brander cast himself as the victim, saying: "Whatever we do, the other parties just want to kick the AfD in the shins."
AfD party leader Alexander Gauland heavily criticized Brander's dismissal, saying: "I don't know where the scandal is … This [dismissal] is an affront to democracy."
As is the case with the party as a whole, Gauland is no stranger to accusations of antisemitism, having infamously dismissed the Holocaust as "just a speck of bird shit in 1,000 years of successful German history."


Tags germany AfD