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Germany sees over 2,700 reported antisemitic incidents in 2021, watchdog says

Illustrative: Neo-Nazis march in Berlin, Germany, on October 11, 2009. (AP/File)
Illustrative: Neo-Nazis march in Berlin, Germany, on October 11, 2009. (AP/File)

A group tracking antisemitism in Germany says it documented more than 2,700 incidents in the country last year, including 63 attacks and six cases of extreme violence.

In a report, the Department for Research and Information on Anti-Semitism, or RIAS, says the coronavirus pandemic with its anti-Jewish conspiracy narratives and the Middle East conflict with antisemitic criticism of Israel were the main drivers of the 2,738 incidents it documented.

The incidents include both criminal and non-criminal incidents, the group says.

The German government’s commissioner to combat antisemitism, Felix Klein, calls the number of incidents — more than seven per day — frightening, but also says that “at the same time, each of the reported incidents is also a step toward reducing the dark figures.”

Right-wing extremists were responsible for 17% of the incidents, but more than half of all the antisemitic incidents could not be assigned to a specific political view, the report said.

Among cases of “extreme violence,” RIAS included an attack on a Jewish participant in a vigil for Israel in Hamburg and a shooting at a Jewish community center in Berlin.

Altogether, 964 people — both Jews and non-Jews — were directly affected by antisemitic incidents, Benjamin Steinitz, the head of RIAS, told reporters in Berlin.

Marina Chernivsky of the Ofek counseling center for victims of antisemitic violence and discrimination called the high number of cases “background noise” in the everyday lives of Jews in Germany.

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