Germany Records Dramatic Surge in Anti-Semitic Crimes

An exponential rise in anti-Israel crimes in Germany committed by foreigners and immigrants in 2014 points to an urgent need for action, a German politician says.

The government should support Arab and Muslim groups engaged in education against anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck said in a statement after the government release of statistics showing a marked increase in both anti-Semitic and anti-Israel crimes last year.

Responding to Beck’s official query, the government reported last week that crimes under the category of “Israel-Palestinian Conflict” increased from a total of 41 in 2013 to 575 in 2014. Of these, 331 were “politically motivated crimes committed by foreigners,” and 91 were violent crimes; the previous year, there were no violent crimes registered in this category.

In a statement, Beck noted that while most anti-Semitic crimes can be traced to right-wing extremists, last year’s “frightening explosion” of anti-Israel crimes and rise in anti-Semitic crimes after the summer 2014 Gaza conflict were in part traced to perpetrators of Muslim or Arab background.

Policymakers “must not close their eyes to this finding,” Beck said, adding that German Muslim and immigrant associations bear responsibility to tackle this problem, and deserve help from the federal government in doing so.

Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office, told the Tagesspiegel daily newspaper that statistics don’t even include many incidents, such as “hostility expressed on the streets, schoolyards and sports fields.”The threshold for anti-Semitic hate speech and violent attacks is dropping,” she said.

Not all anti-Israel crimes are categorized as anti-Semitic. But in a recent court case in Essen, judges confirmed the conviction of an anti-Israel agitator for incitement to hate. The case is considered an important milestone by pro-Israel observers.

Author

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Germany Records Dramatic Surge in Anti-Semitic Crimes

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close