A German MP closed his eyes and rested his head on his hand as Israel’s president spoke about victims of the Holocaust.

Alexander Gauland, leader of the right-wing populists Alternative for Germany, was pictured slumped in the Bundestag on Wednesday.

It came as Israel’s head of state, Reuven Rivlin, was speaking to German MPs about the liberation of Nazi death camp Auschwitz.

People took to social media to question whether Gauland had gone to sleep or whether it was just a momentary pause.

“No matter if Gauland was actually asleep or leaning on his arm for minutes with his head down: this attitude is disrespectful when the Israeli president is speaking in the Bundestag in memory of the victims of National Socialism,” said political and communications consultant Johannes Hillje on Twitter.

“Without words,” wrote SPD Bundestag member Jens Zimmermann.

Zimmermann’s SPD colleague Derya Türk-Nachbaur spoke of “demonstrative disinterest”.

Timon Dzienus, member of the federal board of the Green Youth wrote: “Sure, as an AfD’ler you can check your own pulse while the Federal President makes a plea against hatred, agitation and anti-Semitism.”

Two years ago Gauland appeared to play down the Holocaust when he said to AfD junior staff organisation Junge Alternative: “Hitler and the Nazis are just a birdshit in over 1,000 years of successful German history.”

Euronews has asked AfD for comment on this incident.

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