Germany registers ‘horrifying’ 29 antisemitic incidents per day since Oct. 7th massacre

Rias observed that many German Jews were removing outwardly Jewish symbols such as kippot and Star of David necklaces before venturing outside due to the rise in antisemitism.

By Ben Cohen, The Algemiener

Germany has registered at least 29 antisemitic incidents per day since the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel — a four-fold increase on the previous year that was labeled “horrifying” in a statement from the Central Council of German Jews.

New data published on Tuesday by Rias, a federally-funded body monitoring antisemitic incidents, counted a total of 994 antisemitic incidents since the Hamas onslaught. Germany is home to a Jewish community of approximately 118,000.

Benjamin Steinitz, the managing director of Rias, told the Zeit news outlet that while the troughs and peaks of antisemitic activity have always been influenced by the situation in the Middle East, the present period marked a “different dimension.”

Significantly, the Rias report demonstrated that false or inaccurate media reporting of the conflict in Gaza directly impacted antisemitic agitation. It pointed out that following the false claim pushed by Hamas that an Israeli strike on Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 17 killed 500 people, the number of antisemitic incidents almost doubled from an average of 31 over the previous weeks to 61.

The report also noted that 59 of the incidents occurred at the homes of Jewish residents, for example, the daubing of the Star of David on the outer walls of a house. In one incident in the southwestern town of Giessen, two men forced their way into the home of a 34-year-old Israeli man who had hung an Israeli flag from his balcony. When the Israeli refused to remove the flag, he was showered with antisemitic abuse before one of the assailants punched him in the face.

In another incident, Cyrus Overbeck — an artist and campaigner against extremism who lives in the city of Duisburg — rose one morning to find that 30 leaflets bearing the image of the Israeli flag had been left outside his studio with the text, “Step on the flag, spit on it, burn it: Free Palestine.” When he walked outside, he was confronted by a “highly aggressive” man wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf who regaled him with antisemitic abuse.

Since the incident, “we only leave the house to go shopping,” Overbeck said.

Daniel Poensgen, a consultant with Rias, told broadcaster DW on Tuesday that the targeting of private homes represented a worrying escalation.

“There are places, such as certain neighborhoods or soccer matches, where Jews say, ‘OK, the mood is aggressive right now, I won’t go there,’” he said. “That’s not possible in your own living environment. The stairwell comes first in an apartment, you have to pass through it every day, and that’s why these incidents are particularly threatening.”

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Poensgen also observed that “antisemitism acts as a bridging ideology and brings people from very different parts of the political spectrum together.” He pointed out that “people who actually see themselves as left-wing demonstrate together with Islamists and perhaps also together with right-wing extremists such as supporters of the [Turkish fascist organization] Gray Wolves.”

The number of incidents registered by Rias is notably higher than the 680 registered by the interior ministry since Oct. 7. The discrepancy lies in the fact that Rias registers as antisemitic those incidents that do not necessarily meet a criminality threshold.

In its analysis accompanying the data, Rias observed that many German Jews were removing outwardly Jewish symbols such as kippot and Star of David necklaces before venturing outside. “We also received reports from parents who temporarily stopped sending their children to schools or daycare centers for fear of antisemitic attacks,” the organization said.