German intel agency says antisemitism filtering into mainstream discourse

Germany’s domestic intelligence agency says antisemitic offenses are continuing to rise and those that come to light are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

The head of the BfV agency, Thomas Haldenwang, says antisemitic narratives are increasingly being embraced by people in “the middle of German society,” coming out in protests against coronavirus restrictions or over the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and, in a few cases, in connection with Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The internet serves as “fertile ground” for antisemitism, he adds.

A report from the BfV, its second on the subject, says that 2,351 antisemitic offenses, including 57 acts of violence, were reported in 2020 — compared with 2,032 and 73 respectively the previous year. The overall figure for offenses has risen steadily since 2015, and the 2020 figure was the highest since counting started in 2001.

The government’s antisemitism commissioner, Felix Klein, tells the Welt newspaper that “the pandemic acted like a fire accelerant for antisemitism, also in that it linked together many environments that previously stood for themselves.”

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