German lawmakers have stripped a colleague from his committee chairmanship in the parliament after he made comments that have been widely condemned as anti-Semitic and racist, JTA reported Thursday.
Stephan Brandner, a member of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), was ousted Wednesday as head of the Legal Affairs Committee in the Bundestag, Germany’s lower house of parliament, a move described by German media as “unprecedented”.
Among the comments, Brandner tweeted that the popular German singer Udo Lindenberg, after being awarded the Federal Order of Merit, was given a “Judas reward” for his stand against the AfD, referring to the reward paid to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus, and which was interpreted as anti-Semitic.
Brandner also retweeted a post following the attack on the synagogue in Halle last month asking why politicians were “hanging around” mosques and synagogues with candles when the two people who were killed had been “Germans.”
AfD has a history of controversial statements, particularly surrounding the Holocaust. Party member Bjoern Hoecke caused a firestorm in February of 2017 when he suggested that Germany should end its decades-long tradition of acknowledging and atoning for its Nazi past.
Party co-leader Alexander Gauland last year described the Nazi period as a mere "speck of bird poo in over 1,000 years of successful German history".
He had previously asserted, however, that Jews should not fear the strong election showing by AfD and indicated that he was ready to meet with German Jewish leaders “at any time.”
The AfD, which is the third largest party in the Bundestag, in September made large gains in two state elections.
Last month, Jewish community leaders in Germany voiced concern over a surge in support for AfD in the regional election in Thuringia state.