By Sharon Wrobel, Algemeiner—
According to a comprehensive annual report released on Monday, Germany saw a rise in antisemitic acts in 2020 driven by incidents related to the coronavirus and cases of abusive behavior at rallies against measures to control the pandemic.
Antisemitic incidents documented by the Federal Association of Departments for Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS) last year amounted to 1,909 — an increase of 450 acts compared with 2019, the association’s 2020 report said. That added up to an average of 159 antisemitic incidents per month, or over five incidents per day.
“Danger to Jews comes from many sides: conspiracist milieu during the COVID-19 pandemic, anti-Israel activists during escalations in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, plus the constant threat from right-wing extremism,” said Benjamin Steinitz, executive director of RIAS. “Antisemitism is still multifaceted in Germany, and open expression of this hate is increasingly normalized. No matter in what form it must be resolutely ostracized and rejected.”
An analysis of documented incidents showed that there were fewer physical assaults and threats in 2020, also due to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic. But a number of activists used the crisis as an opportunity to express themselves in an antisemitic manner — becoming especially pronounced in the protests against anti-COVID measures, with one quarter of all documented incidents found to be directly related to the pandemic. 284 cases involved antisemitic content appearing at rallies against COVID-19 measures in speeches, on signs or on clothing. A large number of rallies throughout Germany involved antisemitic conspiracy myths and trivialization of the Shoah.
On a geographical comparison, three of the four regional reporting offices that participated in the nationwide documentation registered more antisemitic incidents than in the year before: 30% more in Bavaria, 13% in Berlin, 3% in Brandenburg. Only Schleswig-Holstein saw a slight decrease, of 5%. For the first time, RIAS also published figures for the rest of Germany, where 472 antisemitic incidents were recorded.
A third of all recorded antisemitic incidents nationwide, or 644, took place online. Of these, 550 incidents were reported in Berlin. Continue Reading…