German antisemitism monitor: 2021 saw over seven incidents per day

“For Jews, the confrontation with antisemitism is an experience that shapes their everyday lives — and that can include direct violence.”

By Sharon Wrobel, The Algemeiner

Germany saw a 40 percent increase in antisemitic incidents in 2021 year-on-year, with more cases of violent outrages driven by pandemic-related conspiracy theories and anti-Israel sentiment following last year’s Gaza war.

A total of 2,738 antisemitic incidents were recorded last year — an average of over seven incidents a day, according to an annual report by the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS), a Berlin-based monitoring institute. In 2020, RIAS had registered 1,957 such cases.

Commenting on the study, Felix Klein, the German government’s federal commissioner tasked with countering antisemitism, thanked victims for reporting their incidents to help make the “phenomenon of antisemitism visible.”

“The report shows that antisemitism is a multifaceted phenomenon affecting society as a whole and is constantly being adapted to new occasions, in the last year it was above all during corona protests and the Arab-Israeli conflict,” said Klein.

Among the reported incidents were 63 assaults, or more than one attack per week. A total of six cases of extreme violence were recorded, which include physical assaults or attacks that may lead to loss of life or cause grave injuries.

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Such cases included an attack last September on a Jewish participant at a vigil for Israel in Hamburg, who was beaten up by a passerby calling him Hurensohn (“son of a bitch”). In August, a shooting at a Jewish community center in Berlin was reported.

Almost 80 percent of all documented incidents in 2021 fell into the category of abusive behavior, including antisemitic statements as well as vandalism of property with antisemitic symbols or slogans.

Analysis of the data showed that right-wing extremists were responsible for 17 percent of the documented cases. However, similar to previous years, 54 percent of all reported incidents could not be linked to a specific political or ideological background.

A total of 236 antisemitic outrages, or about nine percent of all cases in 2021, were driven by anti-Israel activism, compared to 79 incidents in the previous year. The increase was likely linked to the escalation of Israel’s conflict with the Hamas terror group in May, RIAS said.

“For Jews, the confrontation with antisemitism is an experience that shapes their everyday lives — and that can include direct violence,” RIAS wrote in the report. “In the course of antisemitic incidents, Jewish people in Germany are repeatedly held responsible for developments with which they have nothing to do.”

Earlier this year, Germany’s Federal Ministry of the Interior released data showing that 3,028 antisemitic crimes were recorded in 2021, with incidents involving violence rising as a proportion of the total.

Thomas Haldenwang, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence service, said in April that official statistics of antisemitic incidents represented only the “tip of the iceberg,” emphasizing that the majority of cases were not reported to authorities.

“The dark field is much larger,” Haldenwang commented.