Jacob Rees-Mogg Is Being Hammered For His Tweet About The AfD – Here's Why

The ardent Brexiteer is in hot water over his post about Germany's controversial party.

Jacob Rees-Mogg has caused uproar after tweeting and then defending a quote from the co-leader of Germany’s far-right AfD party.

On Sunday evening, the arch Brexiteer tweeted a video of AfD leader Alice Weidel accusing Germany of “negligence and failure” in failing to keep Britain in the EU.

In the video, filmed last month in the Bundestag, she accused the government of pandering to France’s apparent desire to see the UK leave the bloc.

But he was swiftly accused of “promoting an overtly racist party”. Labour’s David Lammy wrote: “Our country’s proudest moment was defeating the far right.

“Now we are supposed to sit back while xenophobes, nativists, nationalists & isolationists do their best to tear Europe apart again. We must not let them win.”

What did the tweet say?

Rees-Mogg’s tweet quoted part of a tirade from Wiedel against Germany’s stance in the Brexit negotiations.

She said: “Is a partner with whom we have lived together for 40 years, in good times and bad, really going to be treated like Paraguay or Papua New Guinea, ladies and gentlemen?

“What a mockery. Is it any wonder the British see bad faith behind every manoeuvre from Brussels?”

Who are the AfD?

The AfD is a nationalist party with 91 seats in the German parliament and one MEP, the biggest far-right party in the country’s politics since the Nazis.

In a country still struggling to process its role in the second world war, the AfD has reached out to voters who feel its Nazi past is being unfairly held against Germany.

A regional party leader, Björn Höcke, called Berlin’s memorial to Jews murdered in the Holocaust a “monument of shame” and called for Germany to stop atoning for its crimes so emphatically.

It has morphed from a eurosceptic party, focusing on rolling back the Eurozone, to a fiercely anti-Islam one whose leader said, as hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in 2016, that police should shoot migrants dead if they tried to cross the border.

Their manifesto states:

In 2016, the party’s former head Frauke Petry, said: “The immigration of so many Muslims will change our culture.”

One of her successors, Alexander Gauland, this year dismissed the Nazi era as a “speck of bird poop” in German history, drawing swift condemnation from mainstream politicians and outrage on social media.

Björn Höcke has also said there was a genetic distinction between the “life-affirming African proliferation type” and the “self-denying European placeholder type”, warning that Europe was threatened by Africans’ “reproductive behaviour”.

And one member, Wolfgang Gedeonit, previously wrote a pamphlet in 2012 which said the United States is “run by Zionists”.

Did Rees-Mogg endorse these positions?

Speaking to LBC radio on Monday morning, Rees-Mogg said: “No no no no, I’m not supporting the AfD but this is a speech made in the Bundestag of real importance because it shows a German view of Brexit .

“And I think it’s important people know this is a strand of German political thinking.

“I don’t think retweeting is an endorsement of things that other people stand for. It’s just pointing out that there’s something interesting that is worth watching.”

How have people reacted? As well as Lammy’s response noted above, a range of politicians and commentators have condemned the tweet.

Labour MP Stella Creasy, said: ”We have to deal with the AFD on the Council of Europe. One of their reps claims that ‘muslims in Europe are seeking to kill all germans’. So forgive us Jacob Rees-Mogg if don’t use them as you do as a metric for decent opinions by which we should be influenced....#fascists”.

Journalist Jeremy Cliffe said: ”Jacob Rees-Mogg, one of the most powerful forces in Britain’s governing Conservative Party, has just endorsed Germany’s overtly racist AfD party.”

And finally...

In a further twist, last month BBC radio presenter Jim Naughtie caused uproar among some Conservatives after he compared the European Research Group (ERG) to the AfD.

Naughtie had been involved in a discussion about the impact of Brexit on politics on Radio 4′s Today programme.

After saying he did not expect either the Tories or Labour to disappear, Naughtie added: “Somebody put it to me the other day, look, in any other European country the Conservative Party wouldn’t exist in its current form.

“The ERG, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s group, in France would be in the National Front because that’s what they believe, and in Germany they’d be in the AfD.”

Conservative Mark Francois called him a “very, very highly paid bigot” and suggested the corporation risked showing pro-EU bias during an outburst in the Commons.

Naughtie later said: “... my words were ill-chosen and I’m sorry for any offence caused.”


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