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German government reports rise in extremist crimes, partly due to Israel-Hamas war

While the report says threats stemming from right-wing extremism still outweigh those coming from other ideologies, it notes “a growing danger that antisemitic agitation will increasingly poison the social climate”

(JTA) — BERLIN – The Israel-Hamas war in Gaza is one of the factors motivating a rise in extremist crimes in Germany, according to a new government report.

The report, published on June 18 by Germany’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution, tallied 39,433 crimes with an extremist background in the country in 2023, nearly 4,000 more than in 2022.

The increase “should alarm us all,” said the agency’s president, Thomas Haldenwang, in a statement announcing the new findings. While the report says threats stemming from right-wing extremism still outweigh those coming from other ideologies, it notes “a growing danger that antisemitic agitation will increasingly poison the social climate.”

Statistics released earlier this year by the government showed that antisemitic crimes nearly doubled in 2023 over the previous year.

The annual report published this week, which is nearly 400 pages long, contains a chapter on the effects of the Israel-Hamas war, noting “the impact that Hamas’ terrorist attack on Israel October 7, 2023 and the subsequent war in Gaza have had on the security situation in Germany.”

Various extremist actors have used the conflict to call for hatred and violence against Jews or the State of Israel or to deny its right to exist, the report said, adding that Jewish and Israeli individuals and institutions are at ever greater risk. It also noted that German right-wing extremists are using the current tensions to agitate against Muslims and migrants.

“Antisemitism and hostility towards Israel often appear as connecting elements” between a wide range of agitators — including Islamist movements, Palestinian activists and Turkish and German extremists on both the right and the left.

The report came out shortly after German far-right candidates had a strong showing in European Parliament elections, alarming many German Jews. French and Italian far-right parties likewise gained seats in the European Union legislative body.

In a press conference Tuesday, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser noted that laws have been tightened to speed up the deportation of Islamists who are not German citizens, and to “ensure that no one who promotes hatred of Jews and Islamism can get a German passport.”

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