Far-right is driving German anti-Semitism, government says
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Far-right is driving German anti-Semitism, government says

Interior Ministry finds 92% of anti-Jewish, anti-Israel offenses in 2017 were committed by right-wing extremists

Illustrative: A broken window is seen at the center of the Jewish community center after a suspected anti-Semitic attack in Rostock, northern Germany, January 8, 2009. (AP/Thomas Haentzschel)
Illustrative: A broken window is seen at the center of the Jewish community center after a suspected anti-Semitic attack in Rostock, northern Germany, January 8, 2009. (AP/Thomas Haentzschel)

Right-wing extremists have committed the vast majority of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel offenses in Germany, which have seen a slight rise over the corresponding period last year, according to a government report.

Of the 681 incidents reported from January to August, 92 percent were committed by right-wing extremists, the Ministry of the Interior report said. In 23 cases, political motivations such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict were involved.

In that period last year, there were 27 fewer such crimes registered.

The report, which the Interior Ministry provided this week by request to Green Party legislator Volker Beck, also noted a slight increase in violent crimes, to 15 from 14.

Charlotte Knobloch, head of the Jewish community of Upper Bavaria and Munich, said the numbers were “oppressive for the Jewish population and shameful for our country.”

German Jewish community leader Charlotte Knobloch (Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 3.0, Michael Lucan)

Even though they were not much higher than last year’s, the figures “are all the more upsetting if you look at them in the context of the small number of Jews in Germany,” Knobloch said. The country’s Jewish population is about 200,000, or 0.25 percent of the total population in Germany.

The largest segment of the reported crimes involved anti-Semitic incitement and also had a slight increase for the time period, to 434 from 425.

The only category that saw a drop was illegal propaganda, such as repeating Nazi slogans or denying the Holocaust: The number fell to 94 from 106.

Beck said the reported crimes are “only the tip of the iceberg.”

The dark number [of unreported crimes] is — we fear — much higher,” he said in a statement, adding that many victims of such crimes still fear going to the police.

Beck also said the problem came from the entire society “and not just from refugees, immigrants or Muslims.”

Right-wing, populist political parties have tried to put the blame for growing intolerance and other societal ills on those populations, especially in the countdown to national elections later this month.

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