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Report: Antisemitism is on the Rise in Berlin

In Berlin, antisemitism is on the rise. The organization ‘Research and Information Office Antisemitism Berlin’ (Recherche- und Informationsstelle Antisemitismus Berlin, RIAS Berlin) published its annual report today, which contains the numbers for 2018.

According to those, the number of attacks with an antisemitic background more than doubled, from 18 in 2017 to 46 last year. In addition, there were more antisemitic threats in 2018 too.

All in all, RIAS listed 1083 antisemitic incidents in Berlin last year. This is an increase of 14 percent. In 368 cases, the victims were individuals, far more than in 2017. Apart from Jews, non-Jews who make statements against antisemitism or right-wing extremism are met with hostility, the RIAS report says.

For RIAS, Benjamin Steinitz said, people who made antisemitic statements were ready to use violence in more and more cases. Threats were increasingly connected to physical abuse. According to Steinitz, low-threshold forms of antisemitism were on the rise as well.

More than 800 cases of offending behavior on the basis of antisemitism were documented for 2018. This amounts to an increase by 22 percent. This is about verbal and written hostility. Events with antisemitic content are part of this part of RIAS’s publication too.

Antisemitism in Germany comes from the far right, the far left and from within the country’s Muslim community. Haters on the streets and on schoolyards use the word “Jew” as an expletive. Jews identifiable as such are being attacked, spat at and insulted.

Jewish business owners are being threatened too. Some receive death threats. The same applies to organizations which fight antisemitism. Synagogues and Jewish schools in Germany are well protected, but its members do experience antisemitism.

Lala Süsskind, the chairlady of the Jewish Forum für Democracy, said she was alarmed regarding the development. “Antisemitism is an attack on democracy and concerns all of us”, she stated.

“All democrats need to take a clear position, in order to put an end to the rampant antisemitism.” Süsskind said the German government needed to reject the wide-spread hostility towards Israel.

For the Greens in Berlin, their deputy chairman Sebastian Walter said the increase of antisemitic incidents was shocking. Especially the drastic rise of attacks and threats with an antisemitic background made him and his colleagues furious. Walter said the Greens condemned these crimes in strong terms. “We will continue to fight any form of antisemitism”, he said.

Cornelia Seibeld, a member of the conservative CDU’s caucus in Berlin’s House of Representatives said antisemitic incidents had reached a startling extent. She announced her party would request a discussion on the matter in the regional parliament.

The ‘Research and Information Office Antisemitism Berlin’ (Recherche- und Informationsstelle Antisemitismus Berlin, RIAS Berlin) was founded in 2015. It is being supported by the Berlin Senate Administration for Justice and the Amedeu Antonio Foundation.

RIAS works on recording antisemitic incidents and supporting the victims.