Yair Netanyahu, the son of the Israeli prime minister, has become the new campaign face for the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party after calling the European Union an “evil globalist organization” last week.
Senior AfD lawmaker Joachim Kuhs tweeted on Wednesday a poster of Netanyahu, echoing his calls for “a free, democratic and Christian” Europe.
“#Christianity is the #Remedy for the evils of the globalist #EU, writes Yair Netanyahu,” Kuhs tweeted alongside a poster that reads: "Schengen is dead. Hopefully, the globalist EU will be too. Then, Europe will again be free, democratic and Christian.”
The Schengen zone comprises 26 European states that have officially abolished all passport and all other types of border control at their mutual borders, and includes Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Norway, Poland, Portugal and Switzerland.
Netanyahu later tweeted back at Kuhs, writing, "Please act with your colleagues to stop this insanity!" with a link to a page on the NGO Monitor website that describes how "The German federal government provides millions of euros to political advocacy NGOs in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza through a variety of frameworks."
Netanyahu had originally tweeted last Tuesday in response to a joint Israeli-Palestinian memorial ceremony for Israel’s Memorial Day. “Shame on you for financing a disgrace in the holiest day of the Israeli calendar!”
This came after a tweet from the European Union delegation to the State of Israel, noting its participation in the ceremony. The commemoration was sponsored by Combatants for Peace and Parents Circle, and held over Zoom, saw a record 200,000 participants.
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“We have one day in a year to remember our fallen soldiers! And you destroy it with a ‘memorial’ to Palestinian terrorists! EU is an enemy of Israel, and an enemy to all European Christian countries! Schengen zone is dead and soon your evil globalist organization will be too, and Europe will return to be free, democratic and Christian!” Netanyahu said.
In March, Germany's domestic intelligence agency designated the radical wing of the AfD as an extremist entity that threatens democracy, and said it would step up its surveillance of it.
Last year, Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, said he avoids the party because of its "highly offensive" stance on the Holocaust.
"I have a very clear opinion on it," Issacharoff told dpa in an interview. "We don't have any contacts with the AfD."
"A number of times their leaders have said things which I regard as being highly offensive to Jews, to Israel and to the whole issue of the Holocaust," he said.
In 2017, Bjoern Hoecke, a founding member and leader of the party in the state of Thueringia, demanded a "180-degree" turnaround on Germany's World War II culture of remembrance.
Hoecke has also caused outrage by using Nazi-era rhetoric and criticizing Berlin's Holocaust memorial.