The Israeli Embassy in Germany said its share of Israel-hating, anti-Semitic mail has increased significantly since last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in and around Gaza.
Israel’s Ambassador to Germany Yakov Hadas-Handelsman said he receives about 20 such letters a day.
In a video (in German) produced and published by the German newspaper Berliner Morgenpost, the ambassador read out a few of the more hateful messages:
“The Jews milk the Holocaust and are too lazy to work.”
“Israel, you are murderers and everyone hates you. May God punish you and your families.”
“I’m very happy that Adolf Hitler annihilated you en masse here in Germany, fucking Jews.”
“Humanity will live in peace the moment the last of the Jewish rats is buried.”
Hadas-Handelsman said during an interview with Channel 10 Thursday that the letters started pouring in during “the events [of the summer] and the violent protests [against the war]. And it continued with what we see now in Europe and the attacks in Paris and Copenhagen against Jews.
“Criticism of Israel is not really criticism; it’s a cover for something much deeper, which is anti-Semitism,” he went on.
The German government and the press have come out strongly against this, but some “use freedom of speech to propagate their [anti-Semitic] views,” he said.
After the Berliner Morgenpost aired the clip, the embassy was flooded with messages of support (in German) and many of them expressed shame that anti-Semitism was still an ongoing phenomenon in German society.
Europe has been on high alert amid a surge of anti-Semitic violence. France was left reeling in January after a series of jihadist attacks on satirical cartoonists and a kosher supermarket, two days later, left 17 people dead.
Last month, a Jewish guard outside a Copenhagen synagogue was gunned down the morning after the jihadist who perpetrated the attack also fired at a cartoonist during a debate on free speech, missing his target but killing a filmmaker.
Following the attacks, governments across the continent were scrambling to reassure their Jewish communities.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pledged to do everything to ensure the safety of Jews in a country whose very identity is shaped by the Holocaust.
Last month, her government was criticized, however, for creating a new commission on anti-Semitism without including a single Jewish person.
The final report by the new commission is scheduled to be handed over to Germany’s parliament within two years. It is supposed to be the basis for a discussion on how to tackle anti-Semitism.
This is the second time the government has installed a commission to deal with anti-Semitism. Some Jewish leaders have criticized the earlier commission’s report, released in 2011, for not bringing about any changes for the situation of Jews in Germany.
A November poll in Germany showed that one in four Germans equated Israel’s policies towards Palestinians with Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews during World War II.
Survey results showed a spike in negative views towards Jews and Israel between June and September, when Israel was at war with Hamas terrorists in Gaza.
One in five respondents polled said that Israel’s policies made Jews in general less likable.
The survey on xenophobia in Germany is carried out biannually by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation, and had previously shown a downward trend in anti-Semitism over the last decade.