Anti-Semitic offenses in Germany rose almost 10 percent in Germany last year, crime statistics showed Wednesday. Violent attacks were up more than 60 percent. Asylum seekers have been among those accused of attacking Jews.
German crime statistics show anti-Semitic offenses rose nearly 10 percent in Germany in 2018, with a 60 percent increase of violent attacks, according to statistics released on Wednesday.
Police recorded 1,646 offenses against Jews, 62 of which were violent. That is a major increase from 37 attacks in 2017. The statistics come from a request by lawmaker Petra Pau of the left-wing Die Linke (The Left) party.
Most of the anti-Semitic offenses were committed by far-right perpetrators, according to the Tagesspiegel, a daily newspaper based in Berlin. In a statement, Pau said "we are seeing that militant right-wing extremists can openly call for the desecration of Jewish institutions and attacks against Jewish people." She added that people were operating in a "gray zone between conservatism and right-wing extremism (and) are denying the Holocaust and engaging in anti-Semitic agitation."
Assaults by asylum seekers
German police say there has been an uptick in anti-Semitic attacks by asylum seekers from Arab states, as AFP reports.
In one of the most noted cases, a 19-year-old Syrian man was convicted for assault after attacking an Israeli man with his belt. The Syrian man shouted "yahudi" at the Israeli man, which means Jew in Arabic. The Israeli man recorded the attack on his smartphone. The assault sparked outrage and rallies in support of Jews in Germany.
Anti-Semitism in politics
The anti-immigrant and anti-multiculturalism party Alternative für Deutschland (Alternative for Germany, AfD) has gained power as opposition against the influx of migrants and refugees increased. Members of the AfD party have made several comments that have downplayed the Holocaust or could be considered anti-Semitic.
Party co-leader Alexander Gauland described the Holocaust as a "speck of bird poop in over 1,000 years of successful German history."
Bjoern Hoecke, another major politician in the AfD, called the Holocaust memorial in Berlin a "monument of shame."
The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, as well as other Jewish community leaders, have accused the AfD party of increasing hatred against refugees, Muslims and Jews.