Germany sees 25.2% rise in anti-Semitic crime in 2014

Amid continent-wide uptick in anti-Jewish activity, authorities record 1,596 offenses nationwide

Visitors walk past concrete steles forming the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe on May 5, 2015 in Berlin (AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN)
Visitors walk past concrete steles forming the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe on May 5, 2015 in Berlin (AFP PHOTO / ODD ANDERSEN)

Germany’s top security official said new statistics show a sharp rise in anti-Semitic offenses last year, as well as in crimes against foreigners.

Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told reporters Wednesday that anti-Semitic offenses rose 25.2 percent last year to 1,596 after declining in 2013. Crimes against foreigners were up 21.5 percent to 3,945.

De Maiziere said the rise was partially due to new reporting methods that more closely track the motivation of perpetrators, but said nonetheless “this development is worrying and must be stopped.”

He said there was no political solution alone, but the “whole of society is needed.”

Europe has been on high alert in recent months 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 left 17 people dead.

In February, 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 was shaped by the Holocaust.

Her government has been 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.

It was the second time the government 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 toward Palestinians with Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews during World War II.

Survey results showed a spike in negative views toward 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.

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