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Berlin — Some observers also point out that a substantial population of Muslims is now residing in Germany, for whom the Holocaust has a much different political meaning. Its invocation with this population can have an effect opposite from what is intended, because of the Holocaust’s frequent use as a justification for the establishment of Israel — an event that this population views as having led to the displacement of the indigenous Palestinian Arabs.
For all that, Ministry of the Interior figures show that most of the country’s anti-Semitic incidents continue to come from the far right. In 2011, almost 96%, or 1,188 of the 1,229 reported cases, came from this quarter. Only 24 cases involved Muslims.
“The far right is getting stronger in Germany,” said Frank Jansen, investigative reporter for the respected centrist newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, during an interview. “Right-wing extremism is attractive to young men who see it as exciting in their boring environment.” Jansen is an expert on Muslim and right-wing extremism in Germany.
A rash of recent anti-Semitic incidents has heightened concern:
A Jewish leader was threatened on a Berlin Street on Yom Kippur. Also on Yom Kippur, a Berlin taxi driver refused to take a Jewish family to synagogue.
In August, a rabbi was beaten on a Berlin street; his 7-year-old daughter was threatened with death.
German teenagers yelled “Jewish pigs” at girls from Or Avner, a Chabad school, in September.
A Jewish cemetery was desecrated in the eastern city of Rostock, also in September.
Berlin police authorities have reported 90 anti-Semitic acts in the first eight months of this year, as compared with 89 cases in the same time frame last year. Three of this year’s anti-Semitic acts in Berlin involved physical violence, compared with one last year.
Criticism of Israel is often one of the factors influencing contemporary anti-Jewish prejudice, the report states. Criticism itself is not an issue, according to the report, but anti-Israel critics cross the line, for example, when they compare Israeli treatment of Palestinians with the Nazi extermination of Jews.