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August 9, 2023 10:11 am

‘Shameful:’ Antisemitic Outrages Continue to Roil Germany, New Government Data Shows

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A demonstrator wearing a kippah at a protest in Cologne in May against Roger Waters, the rock musician widely accused of antisemitism. Photo: Reuters/Ying Tang

The number of antisemitic incidents recorded in Germany during the first half of 2023 remained disturbingly consistent with the previous year, with nearly 1,000 outrages reported, according to data released on Wednesday by the Federal Criminal Police Office.

A total of 960 cases were reported, compared with 965 over the same period last year. The incidents included 25 acts that involved violence. The majority of the incidents were assigned to the category of “right-wing extremism,” with further incidents labeled as emanating from a “foreign” or “religious” ideology, which usually refers to Islamism.

Many of the incidents involved incitement to hatred and were committed online. In addition, police reported bodily harm, verbal insults and the use of banned symbols such as the Nazi swastika.

Germany’s Jewish community expressed concern at the findings. “We are dealing with a mindset that does not include Jewish life in Germany,” Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of German Jews, said in a statement. “As a society, we have to work against this every day.”

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Schuster further remarked that “anyone who believed the conspiracy ideologies would disappear after the [COVID-19] pandemic will now learn otherwise.”

Germany’s Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, said that the statistics were “shameful.”

“It is important to counter right-wing extremist antisemitism as well as Islamist-motivated hatred of Jews and Israel,” Faeser said.

Faeser called on the police to prosecute offenders, arguing that “antisemitic crimes must have clear consequences for the perpetrators.”

However, Jewish leaders and federal officials have frequently expressed the fear that the numbers recorded are not a true reflection of the situation facing the community. Schuster pointed out that “many of the minor attacks or insults, mostly in the area of Muslim antisemitism, are not recorded by the statistics.

Additionally, this year’s numbers are likely to be revised upwards because of the delay in reporting crimes. In 2022, 347 offenses were reported in the second quarter, later adjusted to 714 after the late reports were counted, the news outlet Welt reported.

Petra Pau — a parliamentarian from the Left Party who requested the release of the data — criticized the delayed reporting, stressing the “need for timely recording and increased awareness among police officers of antisemitic crimes.”

“It cannot and must not be that Jews feel more and more unsafe in public spaces,” she stated.

Last year, Thomas Haldenwang — the president of Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV)  — warned that the officially recorded data for antisemitic crimes was merely “the tip of the iceberg.” Speaking to The Algemeiner in May, Felix Klein — the leading federal official combating antisemitism — observed that “only 20 percent of the antisemitic crimes are reported, so the real number should be five times what we have — 25 incidents per day.”

The publication of the statistics this week came a few days after a violent assault on a young Israeli tourist in Berlin, who was beaten by three Arabic-speaking men after they reportedly overheard him speaking in Hebrew on his cellphone.


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