Rafi Eitan lent support to the AfD’s battle against Muslim migrants in Europe, but later walked back his support.
By: AP and World Israel News Staff
The legendary former Mossad agent who led the operation to capture Holocaust mastermind Adolf Eichmann has expressed surprising support for the nationalist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.
The 91-year-old Rafi Eitan said in a video statement on his Facebook page Saturday that Israel appreciates the party’s “attitude toward Judaism” and looks for them to also “become an alternative to Europe.”
The party, AfD, won 12.6 percent of the vote in Germany’s September election to win seats in parliament for the first time and become the country’s third-biggest party.
Its leaders have expressed anti-Semitic statements and played down the crimes of the Nazi regime.
AfD co-leaders Alexander Gauland recently said that Germans could be “proud” of their soldiers who fought in World War II
Eitan, a former Israeli Cabinet minister, appeared to endorse the party’s hard-line toward Muslim immigrants.
Israel’s ambassador to Germany, Jeremy Issacharoff, condemned Eitan’s statement as “sad and shameful.”
“It is hard to believe how the person who captured Eichmann … is able to praise German right-wingers who so admire the Nazi past and wish on us that they become the alternative of Europe! Sad and shameful,” he said in a tweet.
In an interview with IDF Radio on Sunday, Eitan explained that migrants from Muslim countries brought with them a new form of anti-Semitism to Europe.
“We sat and asked who can deal with this? We came to the conclusion that it was specifically the right wing parties in Europe that could,” he said.
Eitan’s wife interrupted the interview and said that “he [Eitan] has made a mistake this time, leave him alone.”
However, in a later interview with Maariv radio, Eitan said he felt he had made a mistake. “This is a certain concept that I thought was correct, but in light of the reactions I’m backing off it,” he said. “Thank you, I don’t want to deal with it.”