The leader of Germany’s far-right party, Alternative for Germany (AfD), said Monday that Jews have nothing to fear from his party’s surprising third-place finish in Sunday’s national elections.
AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland told reporters, “there is nothing in our party, in our program, that could disturb the Jewish people who live here in Germany.”
Gauland added that while he has not yet met with Jewish leaders, he was “ready at any time” to do so.
The AfD garnered around 13 percent of the vote in Germany’s election, finishing behind Chancellor Angela Merkel’s center-right Christian Democrats and the center-left Social Democratic Party.
While the party is not expected to be part of any governing coalition to be formed by Merkel, its entry into the German parliament has stoked fears among Germany’s Jews.
German Jewish leader Charlotte Knoblock, president of the Jewish Community of Munich and Upper Bavaria and a former president of the German Jewish Council, called the AfD’s electoral support a “true nightmare.”
“This changes the political debate and culture and affects the image of Germany in the world,” she warned.