A leader of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) claimed it is a guarantor of Jewish life in Germany because it opposes immigration from largely Muslim migrants.
Frauke Petry made the remarks in response to criticism from Ronald Lauder, president of the World Jewish Congress, who last week called the AfD a “disgrace for Germany.”
“He should also realize that the AfD is one of the few political guarantors of Jewish life, including in times of illegal anti-Semitic migration to Germany,” Petry said.
The comments come as the AfD is embroiled in a scandal over its attitude towards Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich, during which over 6 million Jews were murdered. Senior AfD member Bjoern Hoecke has called Berlin’s Holocaust Memorial a “monument of shame” and has denied Adolf Hitler was “absolutely evil.”
In its draft election program, the AfD criticized reducing Germany’s history to the Nazi era and urged a “wider view of history that also includes aspects of German history that have contributed to our identity in a positive way.”
Charlotte Knobloch, former head of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, condemned Petry’s comments and said the AfD was misusing justified concerns among Jews for its own ends.