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German anti-Semitism monitoring agency: 2,738 incidents in 2021

Germany's Jews were the target of 2,738 recorded anti-Semitic incidents last year, including 63 attacks and six cases of extreme violence, according to a report published in Berlin on Tuesday.

Germany’s Jews were the target of 2,738 recorded anti-Semitic incidents last year, including 63 attacks and six cases of extreme violence, according to a report published in Berlin on Tuesday.

Benjamin Steinitz, head of the RIAS agency, which monitors anti-Semitism across the country, said two of the main drivers of the incidents had been anti-Jewish conspiracy theories related to the coronavirus pandemic and criticism of Israel, in the context of the conflict in the Middle East.

The agency includes incidents that are not classified as criminal and so do not turn up in police figures.

In 2020, the agency recorded just 1,909 incidents of anti-Semitism, although it had fewer points to report cases at the time. RIAS now operates eight. After starting out as a purely Berlin agency in 2015, RIAS began expanding its operation to take in the whole country in 2018.

The fact that the number was heading for 3,000 was shocking, Felix Klein, the federal commissioner for countering anti-Semitism, said. “But at the same time, each of the incidents reported is also a step towards reducing unreported incidents,” he added.

RIAS said that 54% of the incidents could not be categorized with respect to motivation. Among those that could be categorized, right-wing extremism was the largest, at 17%, with 964 perpetrators recorded.

The cases of “extreme violence” included an incident targeting a Jewish participant in a vigil for Israel in Hamburg, and a shot fired at a Jewish community centre in Berlin.

The incidents recorded included: throwing eggs at the door of the home of a Jewish person; daubing “HH” – short for Heil Hitler – on a name plate of a Jewish business; and threatening violence against a man wearing a Star of David in restaurant.

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