BERLIN (JTA) — A German far-right politician was charged with inciting hate for comments he made about Jews and Turks at a public meeting.
Udo Pastors, who heads the parliamentary group of the National Democratic Party of Germany in the former East German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, allegedly made the comments at an Ash Wednesday event sponsored by his party in February.
According to the complaint filed Monday, Pastörs, 56, referred to Germany as "a Jewish republic" and said it was being manipulated by "USrael," a combination of the United States and Israel. He also suggested in a crude manner that Turkish immigrants, with their high birth rate, were overtaking Germany.
Since the event was open to the public and media, his comments were widely broadcast.
The Tagesschau broadcast news reported that the speech was filled with remarks ranging from tasteless to purely anti-Semitic and xenophobic, as well as personal attacks and distortions of history. But the charges filed Monday are based on only a few particularly virulent comments.
If convicted of incitement to hate, Pastors could face four years in jail.
Paving the way for Monday’s charges was a decision by the state parliament earlier this month to revoke Pastors’ legislative immunity from prosecution. Since 2006, the party has had eight seats in the state body.
The National Democratic Party is Germany’s largest right-wing extremist party, with about 7,000 official members, and is considered by the authorities to be anti-democratic. Many Jewish leaders have called for a ban on the party.