Netanyahu Refrains From Denouncing German Far-right Gains, Concerned Over anti-Semitism 'On Right and Left'

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Leaders of Germany's nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Berlin, September 25, 2017
Leaders of Germany's nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in Berlin, September 25, 2017Credit: TOBIAS SCHWARZ/AFP

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at Tuesday morning’s cabinet meeting that he had spoken with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to congratulate her on her victory in the recent elections. He called for new government Merkel is putting together to act “to strengthen the forces that accept the historical responsibility” of Germany concerning the Holocaust and the country’s special relationship with Israel.

“Merkel has been a true friend of Israel and the Jewish people for many years, a great leader of Germany and Europe,” Netanyahu told his cabinet, said a statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office. “I congratulated her on her victory. Israel is certain that under her leadership the special relationship between Germany and Israel will deepen and flourish.”

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Yet the announcement from the PMO did not include any direct comment, condemnation or expression of concern about the far right-wing Alternative for Germany party entering the Bundestag and becoming the third largest political party in the country.

Netanyahu did express concern during the phone call with Merkel over the rise in anti-Semitism in Germany in recent years in political circles on both the right and the left, as well as from Islamist groups. He also told Merkel that Israel rejects any attempts to deny the Holocaust, and said there is a difference between Holocaust denial and the denial of Germany’s historic responsibility for the Holocaust.

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After the results of the German elections were reported, Jewish organizations in Europe and the United States have released statements harshly condemning Alternative for Germany and expressed great concern over the populist right-wing party’s electoral achievements. Nonetheless, Netanyahu and the Israeli government have not yet spoken out on the matter.  

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