The Christmas season is normally associated with family, gift-giving, overeating and a spirit of charity. But for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, this festive period should also be a time to celebrate white men.
The Berlin chapter of the anti-immigration, nationalistic party is drawing criticism for its Christmas advent calendar honoring a famous white man every day until December 24, using the hashtag #JaZuWeißenMännern, which means “yes to white men.”
Each day the party releases a YouTube video announcing a notable white man, which has so far featured 16th-century Protestant reformer Martin Luther, German playwright Bertolt Brecht and American President Ronald Reagan.
“For some people the phrase ‘old white man’ sounds like a bad insult,” AfD Berlin spokesman Ronald Gläser told CNN. “Not for us. We want to show what old white men have achieved and how (they) are ridiculed and even discriminated against.
“White men have spread civilization and Christianity around the world. But now they are supposed to feel guilty for what their forefathers did. This is a fight against civilization,” he added.
But the campaign has been met with ridicule on Twitter, with numerous people using the hashtag to promote notorious men.
One Twitter user shared an image of 1960s cult leader Charles Manson. “His tattoo might be perfect for you,” he said in reference to a swastika tattoo on Manson’s head.
Twitter account AfDentskalender, which according to its website was set up to resist AfD’s media presence in a “humorous way,” offered disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein as an option.
“Without him, the #metoo movement would never have picked up,” it added.
Others shared images of Harry Potter villain Voldemort, Russian serial killer Mikhail Popkov and the Ku Klux Klan.
Others mocked AfD’s inclusion of Steve Jobs, whose biological father was a Syrian immigrant to the United States, as their featured white man for December 7.
AfD Berlin said on Monday that they were aware of his heritage and believed that if Jobs, who had a net worth of around $7 billion before he died in 2011, were alive today he would be discriminated against in California as a “white man.”
“It’s not that we are against non-white minorities or women,” AfD Berlin spokesman Gläser told CNN about the backlash to their campaign. “All we want is justice for old white men.”
The AfD, once considered a fringe element, now holds a solid 94 seats in parliament.
A surging Green Party vote in Bavaria’s October elections, however was in part a protest vote against the Christian Social Union, the sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, which has been ramping up its anti-immigration rhetoric in an attempt to counter a mass defection to the AfD.