Antisemitism behind violent incidents in Germany

While the 2022 federal report on antisemitism in Germany reveals that the overall number of incidents had dropped from the previous year, the number of „extremely violent” cases had grown.

According to the report of a German watchdog organisation released in late June, violent antisemitism is rising in the country, reports The Jerusalem Post.

While the „Antisemitic Incidents in Germany 2022” report conducted by the Federal Association of Research and Information Centers on Antisemitism (RIAS) revealed that the overall number of antisemitic incidents had dropped from the previous year, the number of „extremely violent” cases had grown from six to nine in 2022, which is the highest total record since 2017, the first year of annual reporting on antisemitism.

State investigators have linked some incidents to people working for the Islamic Republic of Iran; in November 2022, shots were fired at the entrance of the historical rabbi’s house at the Old Synagogue in Essen, and an arson attack was attempted at a synagogue in the city of Bochum also in November.

The „extreme violence” category includes physical attacks as well as attempted attacks. Nevertheless, violent or not, antisemitic incidents can significantly impact the feeling of security of the Jewish population in Germany, said Bianca Loy, co-author of the study.

RIAS director Benjamin Steinitz said Jewish communities need to improve their security even more due to the „high threat posed by Islamist and right-wing extremist actors.” Steinitz added that Germany must take action against state-coordinated Iranian terrorism.

The 2022 RIAS report is the first one to include statistics and analysis from 11 German states, giving a broad nationwide picture of antisemitic incidents, along with other forms of discrimination and hate crime. The report categorises incidents as physical, verbal or written, and by degree of violence.

In 2022, many incidents were related to conspiracy theories, particularly in the context of protests against coronavirus prevention measures.