Israel 'Very Clear' on Avoiding Germany's Far-right AfD Party, Ambassador Says

'Their leaders have said things which I regard as being highly offensive to Jews, to Israel and to the whole issue of the Holocaust'

File photo: Supporters of German AfD wave flags in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, Germany, May 27, 2018.
Michael Sohn/AP

Israel's ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, says he avoids the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) 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.

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He said that while many Germans had developed a culture of remembrance towards the Holocaust, that attribute did not apply to the AfD.

Issacharoff added that he recently visited the site of a former Nazi concentration camp located just outside Berlin.

"I find it very difficult to contemplate any kind of conversation with elements, that have some sort of nostalgia for that past," he said.

Last year, AfD leader Alexander Gauland told a gathering that "Hitler and the Nazis were just a speck of birdshit on more than 1,000 years of German history." He later said he remark was "misinterpretable and politically unwise."

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.