February 26, 2024

Germany has seen a 320% surge in antisemitic incidents since Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, according to a federal agency’s report released on Tuesday.

Between Oct. 7 and Nov. 9, the Federal Association of Departments for Research and Information on Antisemitism, known as RIAS in Germany, tracked 994 antisemitic incidents. This is an average of 29 cases per day, which is a 300% increase from last year’s tally during the same period.

Three cases of “extreme violence” were recorded, including an incident on Oct. 18 in Berlin where two Molotov cocktails were thrown at a Jewish community center.

The report also listed 29 attacks, 72 incidents of targeted property damage, 32 threats, four antisemitic mass mailings and 854 incidents of offensive behavior over the one-month period.

While most incidents took place in public spaces, RIAS recorded 59 in people’s homes or living environment.

People hold a banner reading ”Jerusalem is the capital of Palestine Freedom for Palestine” as they take part in a demonstration in solidarity with Palestinians in Gaza, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, in Berlin, Germany November 18, 2023. (credit: REUTERS/ANNEGRET HILSE)

These incidents have particularly impacted residents, who now feel less safe. For example, an Israeli national was attacked for displaying an Israeli flag on his balcony and refusing to remove it.

Buildings housing Jewish people have also been marked with Stars of David and swastikas.

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In response to the wave of attacks, Jews are hiding their identity. RIAS reported that Jewish life is becoming less visible in Germany, as people refrain from wearing identifiable symbols and speaking Hebrew in public.

Germany and Israel’s relationship

Due to Germany’s history, the country has a unique relationship with Israel, which it considers a “reason of state” for the security of Israel. Following the Hamas attack, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz emphasized this in an address to the Bundestag.

Authorities have used this obligation in their crackdowns on pro-Palestinian demonstrations and public statements, especially as public pressure rises concerning the high casualties in Gaza.

Some areas have even banned rallies and public statements in solidarity with Palestinians. In Berlin, schools were authorized to ban the keffiyeh scarf and the phrase “Free Palestine.”

Some prominent Jewish figures in Germany have criticized these clampdowns as counterproductive, including “Unorthodox” author Deborah Feldman.