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February 18, 2022 10:46 am

‘Shocking, Not Surprising’: German Interior Ministry Records Steep Rise in Antisemitic Crimes During 2021

avatar by Ben Cohen

A man wears a kippah at a May 2021 “No to Antisemitism” demonstration outside the synagogue in the German city of Gelsenkirchen. Photo: Reuters/Fabian Strauch/dpa

Antisemitic outrages in Germany once again rose precipitously in 2021, with a 30 percent increase in attacks targeting Jews, according to data released by the Federal Ministry of the Interior on Friday.

The data showed that 3,028 antisemitic crimes were recorded in 2021, with incidents involving violence rising as a proportion of the total. The police registered 63 violent assaults in 2021 — six more than in 2020, with a casualty toll that included four deaths and at least 24 injuries.

The report noted that nearly half of the incidents (1,306) occurred in the second quarter of last year, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip that witnessed antisemitic violence accompanying “Free Palestine” demonstrations around the world.

On May 15 alone — marked by Palestinian rejectionists as “Naqba Day” to protest the “catastrophe” of Israel’s founding — 59 antisemitic incidents were reported, alongside the 30 pro-Palestinian demonstrations that were mounted nationwide. In Berlin, protestors shouted “Israel murders children” as they pelted riot police with stones and bottles, while elsewhere in the capital two young Jewish women were assailed as “Zionist whores” when they and a male Jewish friend were accosted by a pro-Palestinian mob.

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The four deaths recorded in the report will likely raise eyebrows because the deceased were the non-Jewish victims of a horrific crime that was not originally classified as antisemitic. On Dec. 4, 2021, a vaccine refusal activist living in the state of Brandenburg shot dead his wife and three daughters, aged between four and 10, before turning the gun on himself. Because the killer was immersed in conspiracy theories, the Interior Ministry classified the murder spree as an “antisemitic” crime. “The suspect was convinced that the state was pursuing an evil plan with the vaccination campaign, and wanted to reduce the world population by half to establish a new world order under Jewish control,” stated an assessment from the ministry.

The main body representing Germany’s Jewish community said the increase in antisemitic crimes in 2021 was not unexpected.

“The sharp increase in the number of antisemitic crimes in the past year is deeply shocking, but unfortunately not really surprising,” Josef Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the Taggespiegel news outlet.

Schuster added that the “radicalization” of the movement opposed to vaccination and other public health measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic — which has frequently involved the appropriation of the Holocaust to make the case that vaccine refusers are persecuted by the state — “certainly contributes to this development.”

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