The number of antisemitic incidents in the German capital continues to grow with experts warning that incidents are becoming more violent.
The non-governmental group Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism (RIAS) released a report this week saying that last year there were 1,083 antisemitic incidents which marked a 14 per cent increase from 2017, Die Welt reports.
RIAS project manager Benjamin Steinitz noted that the incidents in recent years have become much more “direct” and have increasingly taken the form of threats and violence, saying that the number of attacks had increased by a massive 155 per cent while threats had increased by 77 per cent.
Steinitz noted that there was an increasing willingness among those targetting Jews in the city to make “concrete threats of violence or even to follow them with force.”
The RIAS data paints a much starker picture than Berlin police statistics due to the fact they also include incidents that are not reported to the police. The group uses both police data as well as consulting community groups and other reports.
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More than half of the antisemitic incidents that occurred in 2018 in Berlin, 579, targetted Israeli and Jewish institutions while 368 involved individual Jews themselves.
When asked about the source of the rise in incidents, which some have attributed to antisemitic attitudes among the city’s migrant and Muslim population, Steinitz was hesitant, saying, “we can not quantify that.”
Despite this, there have been several high profile attacks on Jews in Berlin last year that did involve Muslim attackers such as a Jewish teen who was attacked last June on the city’s metro for playing Israeli music.
In November, a leader of Germany’s Central Council of Jews went so far as to advocate for a new government education programme aimed at combatting antisemitic attitudes among Muslim migrants.
Jewish Passenger Attacked by Muslims on Berlin Subway for Listening to Israeli Music https://t.co/rkDZgX83Bx
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 7, 2018
“The problem of immigrant Arab-Islamic antisemitism still lies ahead of us. Many of these people were influenced by regimes in which antisemitism is part of the rationale of the state and the Jewish state is denied the right to existence,” vice president of the organisation, Abraham Lehrer, said.
According to RIAS, at least half of the cases are unclear in terms of any political or religious motivation.
Berlin police, meanwhile, have been criticised for being too eager to register attacks as being “far-right” instead of leaving the motivation unknown. In 2017, police said that 94 per cent of all the cases were motivated by far-right extremism.