A man wearing a kippa listens to speakers during an anti-Semitism demo at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate September 14, 2014.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The world has entered a new era of antisemitism, a top European rabbi warned in response to a report released Tuesday about rising antisemitism in Germany.
Juliane Baer-Henney, a spokeswoman for the German Justice Ministry, confirmed to the Post on the phone Wednesday that antisemitism in Germany has risen threefold in one year – 2,083 cases of attacks on Jews, Jewish property and hate speech against Jews last year, compared with 691 in 2014.
“There is a rejection of mainstream politics, and we need to be aware of the waves of antisemitism sweeping across Europe,” Conference of European Rabbis president Rabbi Pinchas Goldschmidt said. “As a society we must take measures to reject antisemitism and ensure that it does not become a new norm.”
Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said: “The recent report published by Süddeutsche Zeitung showing that the number of right-wing extremist offenses has risen is indeed worrying. At the same time, the sensitivity of the population and its willingness to report such incidents have apparently also increased. Moreover, the German government actively supports the fight against hate speech, antisemitism and sedition in social networks and elsewhere. These developments partly explain the rise in the number of offenses. We highly appreciate the civic and government engagement.”
Baer-Henney said the criminal statistics are recorded from the 16 German states based on uniform criteria to measure the criminal acts. The Justice Ministry started to assess antisemitic criminal acts based on a uniform standard for the decentralized system in 2014.
The 16 states prior to 2014 used different criteria to determine criminal antisemitism. When asked how the Justice Ministry defines modern antisemitism, the spokeswoman said she would provide the Post the information by the week’s end.
Dr. Efraim Zuroff, top Nazi-hunter for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, does not believe that the reported numbers reflect the true extent of the phenomenon.
“I’m sure there are many incidents that are not reported,” he said, adding that the report is nevertheless cause for serious concern.
“There is no question that the arrival of the millions of immigrants from countries where antisemitism is very rife led to additional problems,” Zuroff said.
The key to effectively tackling the issue of antisemitism, he said, is tied to the extent to which anti-Zionism is identified as a component.
“Invariably, [anti-Zionism] is motivated by antisemitism, and in countries where this is recognized, they understand the nature of the beast,” Zuroff said. He noted that in countries where a link between antisemitism and anti-Zionism is not made, certain incidents are not included in statistics about antisemitic attacks.
“In Germany, in certain quarters, there is an understanding of the link between the two, but there is always a time lapse between understanding something and acting on it, and in some of these countries we are in the time lapse now,” Zuroff said.
Germany is awash in BDS (boycott, divestment and sanctions) activities targeting the Jewish state. Last week, anti-Israel activists donned inspector uniforms in the city of Bonn and marched into the Galeria Kaufhof department store to isolate “illegal products” from the disputed territories, and ensure Israeli products were labeled correctly based on EU guidelines. Similar anti-Israel actions took place in Frankfurt, Bremen and Berlin.