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Antisemitic incidents in Germany rose by 320% after Hamas attacked Israel, a monitoring group says


BERLIN (AP) — A group tracking antisemitism in Germany said Tuesday that it documented a drastic increase of antisemitic incidents in the country in the month after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7.

The RIAS group said it recorded 994 incidents, which is an average of 29 incidents per day and an increase of 320% compared to the same time period in 2022. The group looked at the time period from Oct. 7 to Nov. 9.

Among the 994 antisemitic incidents, there were three cases of extreme violence, 29 attacks, targeted damage to 72 properties, 32 threats, four mass mailings and 854 cases of offensive behavior.

Many Jews in Germany experienced antisemitic incidents in their everyday lives and even those who weren't exposed to any antisemitic incidents reported feelings of insecurity and fear, said RIAS, which is an abbreviation in German for the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism.

RIAS said that 59 reported incidents related to homes or people's living environment. In the southwestern town of Giessen, two men forced their way into the home of an Israeli national to remove an Israeli flag hanging out of the window. Several Jews also reported that their homes were marked with Stars of David.

In one of the most severe antisemitic crimes, a synagogue in Berlin was attacked on Oct. 18.

There was also a rise in antisemitic and anti-Israeli propaganda at universities in Germany, with a total of 37 incidents logged by RIAS. Jewish students reported cases in which fellow students blamed them personally for Israel’s politics. Some of them stopped attending classes for fear of being attacked.

The monitoring group said that during the time period analyzed, about one in five incidents, or 21%, was attributed to anti-Israeli activism.

“A further 6% can be attributed to Islamist background, 5% of cases were classified as left-wing/anti-imperialist, while the far-right and conspiracy ideology backgrounds each account for just under 2%,” RIAS wrote. “1% of the cases could be attributed to the political center and less than 1% can be attributed to the Christian/fundamentalist spectrum.”

In 63% of all cases, the political background was unknown, the group added.

While Germany's government has been one of Israel's staunchest supporters following the Oct. 7 Hamas attack and the subsequent Gaza war, there were outbreaks of violence at several street protests, in Berlin especially.

Jews in the German capital reported antisemitic hostility in grocery stores, on public transportation or from neighbors, and deplored that uninvolved bystanders often looked the other way instead of showing support.

“Berliners are called upon not to leave those affected by antisemitism alone, especially in everyday situations,” said Ruth Hatlapa from RIAS.

The report pointed out that since Oct 7, even more than before, Jews are once again trying to make themselves invisible to avoid being attacked.

“Jews are hiding signs and symbols: a cap over the kippah, the Star of David pendant under the scarf, they no longer speak Hebrew on the street,” the report notes. “Jewish life in Berlin has become less visible, less openly lived.”