Berlin Jews Face ‘Background Noise’ of Daily Antisemitism, Says German Monitoring Report
Antisemitic incidents in Germany’s capital peaked in the first six months of this year compared to years prior, according to a report published Thursday, fueled mainly by Israel-related hatred and protests against coronavirus measures.
A total of 522 antisemitic outrages were registered in Berlin from January to June, showing an increase of about 17 percent year-on-year, according a report by RIAS, a Berlin-based monitoring institute.
The number was the highest since 2018. On average, there were almost three antisemitic incidents a day during the period, with almost half of the incidents (211) recorded during the month of May hostilities between Israel and the Hamas terror group.
“Every antisemitic act is one too many,” commented Samuel Salzborn, antisemitism commissioner for Berlin. “We need to aim to have no more antisemitic incidents. Unfortunately, we are far away from being there.”
Salzborn said that the latest RIAS study makes one point particularly clear: “antisemitic incidents pile up when people find excuses to justify their hatred.”
“This was most recently visible in the context of the ideological conspiracist ‘Querdenken’ scene, and during the anti-Israel demonstrations in the spring,” he continued, referring to the right-wing political group. “We have to keep these structures of opportunity for antisemitic expressions and deeds more closely in mind earlier on and not allow them to become antisemitic hotspots in the first place.”
The RIAS report collected data on 22 instances of damage to property; 12 attacks; and 447 episodes of hurtful behavior, including antisemitic verbal abuse and harassment, which were documented at 35 antisemitic gatherings and demonstrations. The report also recorded 26 cases of antisemitic letters distributed.
With RIAS including some incidents under more than one classification, about 48% of the incidents were connected to Israel-related antisemitism, and about 43% entailed cases of “post-Shoah” antisemitism — those rejecting the memory of the Nazi crimes. Such trivializing content was found in more than three quarters of all antisemitic incidents related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
A fifth of incidents were classified under “modern” antisemitism, with typical cases being conspiracies about Jews wielding outsize political or economic power.
At the same time, the report found that more than half of the antisemitic incidents during the six-month period showed no immediately recognizable connection to the Gaza conflict in May or the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This, too, shows how widespread antisemitic attitudes are across all political spectra and how much antisemitism as a kind of background noise accompanies the everyday life of Berlin’s Jews,” the report stated.