(JNS.org) The leader of the far-right political party Alternative for Germany (AfD) Monday questioned why Israel’s existence should remain a German national interest, following his party’s third-place finish in Sunday’s election.
“If Israel’s existence is part of the German national interest then we would have to be prepared to send German soldiers to defend the Jewish state,” AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland told reporters Monday, referring to the issue as “problematic” for Germany.
Gauland reiterated his position in an interview with the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, saying, “German society doesn’t really understand what the significance is. That is, that German soldiers would fight and die alongside Israeli soldiers.”
The far-right leader’s comments came during the same press conference in which he said Jews have nothing to fear from his party’s electoral victory.
“There is nothing in our party, in our program, that could disturb the Jewish people who live here in Germany,” he said.
AfD garnered around 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s national election, finishing behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democratic Party.
German Jewish leader Charlotte Knoblock, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria as well as a former president of the German Jewish Council, called AfD’s electoral showing a “true nightmare.”
“This changes the political debate and culture and affects the image of Germany in the world,” she said.