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October 26, 2022 1:44 pm
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Five Antisemitic Incidents Reported Daily in Germany, as High Levels of Jew-Hatred Refuse to Abate

avatar by Ben Cohen

Demonstrators protesting the inclusion of antisemitic artworks at the Documenta festival in Kassel, Germany. Photo: Reuters/Swen Pförtner/dpa

The German authorities disclosed on Tuesday that an average of five antisemitic outrages have been reported every day during 2022, continuing the trend of rising levels of Jew-hatred registered in previous years.

Data gathered by the Federal Criminal Police Office showed a total of 1,555 reported antisemitic incidents this year. The data was provided in response to a formal request from a group of German parliamentarians.

A total of 55 crimes against Jews were classified as “violent,” with the remaining offenses including incitement to hatred and displaying the symbols of proscribed far right and neo-Nazi organizations. According to the data, a total of 936 suspects have been identified, but not a single arrest warrant has been issued.

The Federal Criminal Police Office pointed out that the numbers released on Wednesday were provisional and could be subject to revision. According to the Welt news outlet, the calculations for the first quarter of this year have already been corrected upwards, with 683 antisemitic crimes recorded and not the original figure of 459.

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The revisions led some German politicians to express frustration with the data-gathering process. “In view of the general increase in antisemitism, I would wish for the correct recording to be carried out more quickly,” Petra Pau, the vice-president of the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, told Welt. “Only then can politicians and the authorities recognize threatening developments in a timely manner.”

The Central Council of German Jews said in a statement that it was disturbed, if not surprised, by the data.

“In times of crisis, Jews often have to serve as scapegoats,” the council’s president, Josef Schuster, told Welt. He added that while in his view far right extremism posed the greatest threat to German Jews, “when it comes to hostilities that are not included in the statistics, I often hear that people with a Muslim background are also involved.”

Schuster also observed that there had been “a paradigm shift in art and science” which meant that antisemitic tropes were more common. For much of this year, the German art world was embroiled in the successive scandals involving antisemitism at the Documenta art festival in the city of Kassel, where classic antisemitic and viscerally anti-Zionist imagery was on display in several works. Such episodes helped to legitimize antisemitic violence in Germany, Schuster said.

A total of 3,028 antisemitic incidents were recorded in 2021 by Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior — a 30 percent increase on the previous year. Nearly half of the incidents 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.

Last April, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service warned that the antisemitic outrages that are actually reported to the authorities were merely the “tip of the iceberg.”

Thomas Haldenwang, the president of Germany’s federal office for the protection of the constitution (BfV), additionally noted that it was “frightening that antisemitic narratives are sometimes embraced by people in the middle of German society, serving as a link between social discourse and extremist ideologies.”

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