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September 23, 2020 2:52 pm

In Tandem With Pandemic, Antisemitic Hate Crimes Rise in Berlin During 2020

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A ‘kippah rally’ in Berlin in April 2018 expressing solidarity with Germany’s Jewish community. Photo: Reuters / Fabrizio Bensch.

Antisemitic hate crimes in Berlin registered another rise this week, as a new report showed that an increasingly emboldened hostility toward Jews was taking on new forms, particularly online, alongside more established ones.

In an analysis released on Tuesday, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism Berlin (RIAS), a civic organization, documented 410 incidents — more than two per day — during the first half of 2020.

The group’s count of antisemitic acts included six physical attacks, 25 cases of property damage, 20 threats, 58 examples of antisemitic propaganda and 301 examples of malicious behavior such as giving the stiff-armed Nazi salute.

The report pointed out that the social-distancing restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic had led to a “shift in antisemitic forms of expression.”

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These included “targeted damage to property, so-called ‘Zoom-bombings,’ and [antisemitic] propaganda on the internet and in public spaces.”

As examples, RIAS cited the disruption of several Jewish events in Berlin on Yom HaShoah — Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day — with content that glorified the Nazis.

The wave of protests in Germany against social distancing have attracted a large far-right contingent. According to RIAS, at least 20 demonstrations in Berlin have featured openly antisemitic content.

However, physical assaults against Jews were down — from 16 at the same point last year to six this year — as were verbal attacks and insults in the street.

RIAS attributed both declines to the ongoing restrictions on social contact.

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