Houses marked with Stars of David and insults or punches in the face against Israel flags on balconies: anti-Semitic incidents have increased massively since October 7th. In 994, the Federal Association of Research and Information Centers documented anti-Semitism (Rias). On average, there are 29 incidents per day; in 2022 there were an average of seven, the organization announced on Tuesday in Berlin.
Hanna Veiler, President of the Jewish Student Union Germany, finds the numbers frightening but not surprising. She told the German Press Agency: "Young Jews have been reporting continuously since October 7th how much the anti-Semitism they perceive in their everyday lives, especially in the university context, has increased."
The majority of the crimes (62 percent) cannot be assigned to a specific background. In 21 percent of cases, anti-Israel activism plays a major role. Rias speaks of this, for example, when the right to exist of the State of Israel is denied at demonstrations, with slogans like "From the River to the Sea" (read more background here).
Other incidents have an Islamic or Islamist background (6 percent), come from the left-wing or anti-imperialist scene (5 percent) and from the conspiracy ideology or right-wing extremist milieu (two percent each). The reporting office also records incidents in the form of insults, signs and the like, which are mostly observed at anti-Semitic gatherings.
However, the fact that extreme violence has been relatively rare, with three incidents since October 7th, does not make it any less dangerous for individuals and the Jewish community. Rias cites October 18th as an example. At that time, incendiary devices were thrown at a Jewish community center in Berlin, which also houses a synagogue, a school and a daycare center.
According to the report, the number of crimes roughly corresponds to current events. For example, there were increased anti-Semitic gatherings after the explosion at Al-Ahli Hospital in Gaza on October 17th, as well as after commemorative events on November 9th for Reich Progrom Night. Disinformation on social media also mobilizes people.
Rias is not the only association that is increasingly recording anti-Semitic acts. The Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) is also observing an increase in anti-Semitic crimes. At its autumn meeting a few days ago, the BKA spoke of 680 anti-Semitic crimes - significantly more than usual. BKA President Holger Münch called the development "worrying because we don't know where it's going."
In an interview with the DPA, extremism researcher Ahmad Mansour warned of increasing radicalization, both among right-wing extremists and in the Islamist milieu. The propaganda also reaches many young people on platforms like Tiktok. Therefore, these social media must be used more specifically for education, says Mansour. The Internet is a "very important place when you consider that young people and adults get their information from there for several hours a day."
Further sources: RIAS, Federal Criminal Police Office, with information from the agencies