Bremen's city hall, cathedral and Bürgerschaft.
(photo credit: JÜRGEN HOWALDT/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Friedrich Bode, a Protestant pastor and co-founder of the Green Party branch in Bremen, delivered a talk at a neo-Nazi party event in Karlshöfe, Lower Saxony, on Saturday.
Bode supports the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign targeting the Jewish state.
The church in the city-state of Bremen where Bode worked as a pastor for 18 years, subsequently barred him from appearing at future events organized by Germany’s main neo-Nazi organization – the National Democratic Party (NPD), the Christian website Domradio reported on Tuesday. The church has not imposed any other disciplinary measures.
Pastor Renke Brahms, the executive cleric of the church, told Radio Bremen that Bode’s activity is “open antisemitism.”
Brahms said a “racist, antisemitic and neo-Nazi view of people and the world is not compatible with the preaching of Jesus Christ.”
The 77-year-old Bode can be seen on the YouTube channel of the right-wing extremist group Nordland TV, terming Adolf Hitler a “brilliant, selftaught person.”
Bode, according to German media reports, has also showed sympathy for the Holocaust denier and neo-Nazi Horst Mahler.
Bode told the TAZ-Nord
paper on Tuesday that he visited Mahler in prison, and backed the Holocaust denier Ursula Haverbeck in court to show support for “free speech.”
In 2009, Jürgen Rieger, a Holocaust denier and then-deputy chairman of the NPD, called on Germans to boycott Israel. The NPD politician Udo Voigt, who is a member of the European Parliament, said in January that his party stands “on the side of Iran.”
Bode’s church was engulfed in an antisemitism scandal in 2016, prompting the resignation of Pastor Volker Keller from Bremen’s Council of Integration.
In an April 2016 email to The Jerusalem Post
, Keller praised a lecture – widely viewed as antisemitic – in his church community building held by an anti-Israel extremist who advocated a boycott of the Jewish state. Keller wrote: “Best wishes to Israel, Yours truly, Volker Keller, antisemite.”
The city-state of Bremen, with a population of just over 650,000, is a stronghold of BDS and pro-Iranian regime activities.
Commentators in Germany have highlighted over the years the parallels between the Green Party and the NPD regarding anti-Jewish and anti-Israel activities.
In 2013, the Green Party in the Bundestag filed an anti-Israel initiative that largely mirrored the language of the neo-Nazi NPD party’s 2012 measure in a state parliament to sanction Israeli products from the disputed territories.
The Green Party initiative to label Jewish products, which was widely viewed as penalty, was spearheaded at the time by 14 Green Party deputies, including Kerstin Müller, who is the director of the party’s Heinrich Böll Foundation office in Tel Aviv, and Marieluise Beck, who is from Bremen.