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German nationalist lawmaker lashes out at Jewish activist

Associated Press Associated Press 31/08/2016

BERLIN — Days before a closely watched regional election in Germany, a leading member of the nationalist party Alternative for Germany launched an attack on a prominent Jewish activist, calling Wednesday for the anti-racism organization she heads to be shut down.

European lawmaker Beatrix von Storch, who leads the Berlin chapter of Alternative for Germany, lashed out online at the Amadeu Antonio Foundation over a brochure that described her party as far-right and populist. Von Storch called for the "plug to be pulled" on the foundation because of the brochure, which provides guidance on how to respond to her party.

Known by its German acronym AfD, the party has polled strongly ahead of elections in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania amid popular discontent over Chancellor Angela Merkel's refugee policy.

Von Storch, the granddaughter of Nazi Germany's finance minister, attacked the foundation's chairwoman, Anetta Kahane, calling her a "Stasi-aunt." Kahane has acknowledged being one of 200,000 unpaid informants of East Germany's secret police, or Stasi, from 1974 to 1982, before becoming a political dissident.

A foundation representative, Timo Reinfrank, accused von Storch of trying to portray herself as a victim ahead of regional elections at the weekend.

"Unfortunately AfD politicians show time and again how well-founded our efforts to preserve the culture of democratic debate are," he said.

The Amadeu Antonio Foundation has frequently been attacked by far-right groups.

In July, members of a far-right group known as the Identitarian Movement stormed its office demanding to see Kahane.

Reinfrank said at the time that the attacks on Kahane had become particularly "aggressive and often anti-Semitic."

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