8

The Bild reported this:

Die AfD hat den Holocaust-Leugner Gerard Menuhin (67) gebeten, ein Gutachten über die Bücher des baden-württembergischen AfD-Landtagsabgeordneten Wolfgang Gedeon zu erstellen, ob dessen Bücher antisemitisch sind.
(my translation: The AfD asked the Holocaust denier Gerard Menuhin (67) to create a report to evaluate if the books of the "Landtagsabgeordneter" of Baden-Württemberg Wolfgang Gedeon contain antisemitism.)
source (just the teaser, the article is behind a paywall)

For context:

  • The AfD is a right-wing party in Germany.
  • Wolfgang Gedeon was recently in the news because of antisemitic passages in books he wrote, such as saying that the Protocols of the Elders of Zion are "probably" real, calling Holocaust denier David Irving a "dissident", saying that the "Talmudic Jews" were the inner enemy of the Christian West, or saying that there are "many Jews" who conspire against the country they live in.
  • The AfD did not exclude him from the party but instead wants to wait for a report evaluating whether or not the antisemitism of Gedeon is in fact antisemitism.
  • A quick search revealed that Gerard Menuhin does seem to be a Holocaust denier (Wikipedia quotes him as saying that the Holocaust is the biggest lie in history, but I couldn't find a very reliable source for this either).
  • The Bild is a German tabloid magazine.

Apart from Bild, I couldn't find another source for this. Are there other sources confirming that the AfD asked a Holocaust denier to assess the antisemitism of a party member?

  • 5
    It's what the sources say. It mainly depends on context, but calling a holocaust denier a dissident downplays the fact that they are a holocaust denier; it leaves the impression that they "just have a different opinion". Anyways, I don't think it really matters, as there are enough other, clearly antisemitic passages from him. – tim Jul 2 '16 at 17:05
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    A holocaust denier, by definition, is a dissident. That's why it's confusing. If it was "he's only a dissident, not anti-Semitic", that makes more sense. – fredsbend Jul 2 '16 at 18:39
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    @fredsbend holocaust deniers may be a sub-group of dissidents - depending on your definition - but if someone uses the more general term on purpose to hide or excuse the fact that someone is a holocaust denier, that may (strongly) suggest antisemitic intention. [In Germany, the term also has a history of being used for people in opposition with the DDR, so calling a holocaust denier a dissident may have the intention of equating them. Maybe the problem is also a slight difference in meaning in English and German (in my experience,dissident can have a somewhat positive connotation in German).] – tim Jul 2 '16 at 19:58
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    @fredsbend - in human languages, context and connotations mean more than pure semantic correctness. In this case, "dissident" is used specifically for the connotations it implies and doesn't imply (it's a ubiquitous move in politics - you label things that are bad with "tecnically correct" but wholly misleading generic labels instead of more narrow and negative ones that are more accurate) - and the deliberate choice to use that term is a strong indicator - though not proof - that the person is a Holocaust denier. – user5341 Jul 2 '16 at 23:45
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    @DavidBlomstrom Are you really arguing that Irving is not a Holocaust denier and antisemite? You don't need to look at convictions for this - although why wouldn't you? - , he is pretty open about it. – tim Aug 13 '17 at 8:25
10

Two more news outlets reported about this case, both referencing the Bild: taz and Huffington Post.

In a Facebook post, the AfD itself describes the case like this:

Anders als derzeit kolportiert wird, hatte die AfD-Fraktion im Landtag von Baden-Württemberg nie die Absicht, Gerard Menuhin zum Gutachter im Fall Wolfgang Gedeon zu bestellen. Der Name Menuhin wurde im Rahmen eines Brainstormings zur Findung von Gutachtern lediglich von einem einzelnen Fraktionsmitglied in den Raum geworfen, ohne dass die Fraktion jemals ernsthaft die Bestellung Menuhins in Erwägung gezogen hatte

Der Name Menuhin wurde am 22. Juni in der ersten Sitzung einer Findungskommission als einer von vielen möglichen Gutachtern genannt und zwar nur von einem einzelnen Fraktionsmitglied, das sich auch anbot, gleich Kontakt mit diesem Herrn aufzunehmen. An jenem Tag wurden aus Zeitgründen nur Namen genannt, ohne dass sich die Kommission inhaltlich mit den Positionen der möglichen Gutachter beschäftigte. Bereits einen Tag später erklärte besagtes Fraktionsmitglied, dass Gerard Menuhin von sich aus abgelehnt hätte. Zu diesem Zeitpunkt hatten die übrigen Kommissionsmitglieder bereits durch eigene Recherchen in Erfahrung gebracht, dass es sich bei Menuhin um einen Holocaust-Leugner handelte, womit für alle feststand, dass Menuhin niemals als Gutachter in Frage kommen würde. source

Summarized, it says that one of the members of their Landtagsfraktion suggested Menuhin and he ended up on a provisional list without further examination (because of time constraints). That member then asked Menuhin if he would be willing to do the report, which Menuhin was not. The statement goes on saying that other members researched Menuhin in the meantime and found him to not be suitable.

Conclusion

According to statements made by the AfD itself, it seems to be true that Menuhin was asked by a party official if he was willing to do the assessment, but Menuhin was not. Afterwards, other party officials stated that Menuhin was never a serious candidate, and that they would not have accepted him for the position because of his Holocaust denialism.

3

Apparently, this information is based on recent AfD email leaks which are only available to bild.de. As far as I know it is the rule that leaks are launched by sending them to only one press organ, which gives the whistleblower more control about what is published due to relations based on mutual trust. When I am not mistaken no other newspaper will cite the same leakage sources and instead would refer to bild.de.

If the story is true, I assume it was leaked by AfD officials who want to avoid anti-semitism in their party, see Antisemitismus bei Pegida und AfD .

Apparently the party needs to find its position regarding anti-semitism.

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