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ZDF summer interview with Alice Weidel: AfD boss speaks for 20 minutes – and says nothing

Created: 08/09/2022 04:57 am

Für das ZDF-Sommerinterview besuchte der Sender Alice Weidel im Sommerurlaub in Südtirol.
For the ZDF summer interview, the broadcaster visited Alice Weidel on summer vacation in South Tyrol. © Jens Hartmann/ZDF/dpa

In the ZDF summer interview, AfD chairwoman Alice Weidel spoke about talks with Russia, homophobia and her views on the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution.

Germany has the summer slump firmly in its grip again this year. At least as far as the political talk show is concerned. And so the chairwoman of the Alternative for Germany (AfD) also has the opportunity to answer questions from Shakuntala Banerjee in the ZDF summer interview for the ZDF format “Berlin direct”. As expected, Alice Weidel sets the bar very high for how little reasoned content an interview guest can give in twenty minutes.

Since the ZDF team is visiting the AfD federal chairwoman on vacation in South Tyrol, moderator Banerjee first directs the conversation to a trip by Weidel as parliamentary group leader to Moscow, where she did not meet with Russian opposition members. When asked why Weidel did not meet government critic Alexei Navalny, Weidel emphasized that their visit was not a political one, but a purely “entrepreneurial-economic exchange”. Weidel wishes that “the German government would keep the channel of communication open to Russia” because “certain problems would not arise” that way.

Conversation about Russia, Ukraine and the AfD: ZDF interviews Weidel in South Tyrol

According to Shakuntala Banerjee, the position of the AfD is very diverse in its assessment of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Weidel replies: “In our party and parliamentary group it is undisputed that this is a war of aggression by Russia against Ukraine that is absolutely contrary to international law”. Afterwards, however, she immediately puts it into perspective that one should not forget the situation in which the conflict is historically embedded: It has been known for decades that efforts to “integrate Ukraine into NATO and the EU” are a red line for the Kremlin . The mistake that the West has to blame is that Ukraine has not been positioned as a neutral state in recent decades. So is the Russian attack on Ukraine the fault of Western powers? Here, Weidel’s concrete position remains a mystery for the first time.

Shakuntala Banerjee spoke to the AfD federal spokeswoman about statements by party members who would also seek proximity to Vladimir Putin’s politics on Russian television. Weidel replies that she is not aware of these and that they contradict the line of the party and parliamentary group. When asked how members who represent this position are actually dealt with, Weidel repeatedly maintains the meaningless position that “we will clarify this internally”, without giving any details on how to deal with it.

ZDF summer interview with Alice Weidel: homophobia “relatively irrelevant”

However, Banerjee continues to dig deeper at this point: According to ZDF research, voices like that of the Thuringian AfD state chairman Bernd Höcke, who call for an anti-liberal society, are increasing in the course of the Ukraine conflict. Specifically, the ZDF presenter does this using the example of Russia’s legislation against homosexuals, which also appeals to supporters of the AfD. Weidel dodged this point again and emphasized that there were anti-homosexual statements in all parties. “Personally, I can deal with it and I don’t really care,” says Weidel. However, the extreme positions in both (sic!) directions are far removed from the reality of life for most homosexuals.

In doing so, Weidel, who lives openly as a homosexual, expressly includes her own everyday life. Hostilities against homosexuals must be “dealt with a bit more relaxedly”. Unfortunately, viewers don’t get to hear what the second extreme position is supposed to be, as Shakuntala Banerjee has to keep catching Weidel’s sprawling answers. Perhaps the audience has been spared another outrageous explanation. But don’t worry: Alice Weidel still gives the viewers of the ZDF summer interview a lot for the broadcast fee paid.

Weidel in the summer interview: Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution “no independent authority”

As a result, the topic changes to the classification of the alternative for Germany by the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution as a suspected right-wing extremist. According to Shakuntala Banerjee, the President of the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Thomas Haldenwang, told the ZDF team from “Berlin direkt” that his authority did not see any weakening of these tendencies after the last federal party conference of the AfD in Riesa. Rather, the new federal executive board is riddled with people who were close to the so-called formally dissolved “wing”, the alleged right-wing extremist platform in the party, which is why the party, according to the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, is threatening to move even further to the right.

Now Weidel is in top form: The Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) is not an independent authority because its President Haldenwang is a member of the CDU and reports directly to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, who is a member of the SPD. “From my point of view, an authority is being instrumentalized here.” Rather, it is a domestic secret service that is used by partisans to “denigrate the opposition”. Weidel talks herself into a rage and tops it all off by questioning the independence of the Federal Constitutional Court: “There is a former CDU federal deputy sitting there who is supposed to decide on laws as a judge today that he previously decided on as a deputy .” In no other western country would there be such a form of mixing of the separation of powers, the AfD federal chairwoman is certain.

TV criticism of the Weidel summer interview: Criticism and arguments are unfounded

The fact that the Office for the Protection of the Constitution is an authority that is often unjustly criticized is a position that can be legitimately defended in Germany. However, Alice Weidel’s “criticism” of the BfV lacks any factual validity and serves the sole purpose of distracting attention from the fact that she and her co-chairman Tino Chrupalla have no answer and no power to act against openly right-wing extremist positions in their party. Moderator Banerjee unmasks Weidel’s conversational tactics by addressing her interviewee to the statement by AfD federal executive board member Christina Baum, according to which “a creeping genocide against the Germans” is taking place in this country. A distancing or even naming of consequences? none.

And it goes on: Shakuntala Banerjee wants to know at the end of the interview whether Alice Weidel agrees with the statement of her party colleague Björn Höcke, according to which one (i.e. the Alternative for Germany as a party) decides what is right-wing extremist and what is not. Now Alice Weidel conjures up a parade answer from her quiver with completely vaguely justified statements: “It’s up to the voters to decide. Every individual is sovereign in Germany.”

ZDF summer interview with AfD boss: Weidel wants “more independence” from the media

And finally there is the cherry on top of the ice cream sundae “Coupe Deutschland” that Alice Weidel apparently put together especially for the ZDF summer interview: “Always being put in the right-hand corner is extremely boring and intellectually enormously under-challenging. I would also like to see more independence from the media.”

In this twenty-minute string of vague, unfounded and incoherent claims, one wonders who is being intellectually underchallenged here. In any case, we recommend for the next summer interview: Never keep your head in the blazing sun for too long, even on vacation! (Moritz Post)

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