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Berlin’s Mayor Loves Antisemites

Kai Wegner denounces the “antisemitism” of left-wing Jews — while he embraces the most high-profile antisemitic conspiracy theorist in the world.

Nathaniel Flakin

March 22, 2024
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Originally Published in The Left Berlin

On Saturday, the Austrian Nazi Martin Sellner was detained by Swiss police and expelled from the country. Sellner is known internationally for his calls to deport millions of non-white people from Germany (which he calls “remigration”). When reports were published about a meeting he had with leading members of the far-right AfD last November, millions of people took to the streets of Germany to protest against racism. Sellner also had connections to the fascist mass murderer in Christchurch.

When he posted a video on Twitter about being expelled from Switzerland (his own “remigration”), he got a reply from the platform’s owner. Elon Musk asked: “Is this legal?”

Sellner, leader of the fascist Identitarian Movement, had been banned from Twitter in 2020. He was welcomed back to the platform just last week, and he thanked Musk personally.

Musk has been increasingly open about his fascist and antisemitic views. He has endorsed the conspiracy theory that Jews control migration and promote “hatred against whites” — this is, in Musk’s words, “the actual truth.” He has attacked the Jewish billionaire George Soros (who “hates humanity,” according to Musk) and supported the AfD. He has used his billions to make Twitter a safe space for Nazis.

Yet none of this stopped Berlin mayor Kai Wegner (CDU) from embracing Musk last week, as did Brandenburg’s prime minister, Dietmar Woidke (SPD). Responding to criticism about posing with such a well-known antisemite, Wegner only said that “Tesla is an important employer for the whole region.” He explicitly refused to condemn Musk’s far-right and antisemitic views. 

When Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers at the Berlinale film festival called for equality, Wegner said such views should be banned. “There is no space for antisemitism in Berlin,” he declared.

What Wegner meant to say: There is space for antisemitism as long as you’re a billionaire. Musk is not the only antisemite Wegner admires.

A few of these people, such as Kurth and Maaßen, recently resigned from the CDU voluntarily. Others, like Seehofer, have faced no consequences for their far-right views. The CDU is still trying to protect the memory of the fascist mass murderer Globke.

In other words, Wegner is absolutely surrounded by antisemites. He was himself in far-right Facebook groups. He only talks about “antisemitism” to voice support for Israel’s right-wing government and its genocidal assault against Gaza. All genuine antisemites get a “Persilschein,” a bill of clean health, from Wegner.

As I’ve written before, it’s not that the German state is overzealous in its fight against antisemitism, and is thus accidentally including left-wing Jews. All these “Antisemitism Bureaucrats” are about protecting actual antisemites, who tend to be right-wing Germans. The accusations of antisemitism against leftists, immigrants, and Jews are a smokescreen to distract from the state’s deep hostility to Jews.

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Nathaniel Flakin

Nathaniel is a freelance journalist and historian from Berlin. He is on the editorial board of Left Voice and our German sister site Klasse Gegen Klasse. Nathaniel, also known by the nickname Wladek, has written a biography of Martin Monath, a Trotskyist resistance fighter in France during World War II, which has appeared in German, in English, and in French, and in Spanish. He has also written an anticapitalist guide book called Revolutionary Berlin. He is on the autism spectrum.

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