Germany has registered at least 29 antisemitic incidents per day since the Oct. 7 Hamas pogrom in southern Israel — a four-fold increase on the previous year that was labeled “horrifying” in a statement from the Central Council of German Jews.
New data published on Tuesday by Rias, a federally-funded body monitoring antisemitic incidents, counted a total of 994 antisemitic incidents since the Hamas onslaught. Germany is home to a Jewish community of approximately 118,000.
Benjamin Steinitz, the managing director of Rias, told the Zeit news outlet that while the troughs and peaks of antisemitic activity have always been influenced by the situation in the Middle East, the present period marked a “different dimension.”
Significantly, the Rias report demonstrated that false or inaccurate media reporting of the conflict in Gaza directly impacted antisemitic agitation. It pointed out that following the false claim pushed by Hamas that an Israeli strike on Al Ahli Hospital in Gaza City on Oct. 17 killed 500 people, the number of antisemitic incidents almost doubled from an average of 31 over the previous weeks to 61.
The report also noted that 59 of the incidents occurred at the homes of Jewish residents, for example the daubing of the Star of David on the outer walls of a house. In one incident in the southwestern town of Giessen, two men forced their way into the home of a 34-year-old Israeli man who had hung an Israeli flag from his balcony. When the Israeli refused to remove the flag, he was showered with antisemitic abuse before one of the assailants punched him in the face.
In another incident, Cyrus Overbeck — an artist and campaigner against extremism who lives in the city of Duisburg — rose one morning to find that 30 leaflets bearing the image of the Israeli flag had been left outside his studio with the text, “Step on the flag, spit on it, burn it: Free Palestine.” When he walked outside, he was confronted by a “highly aggressive” man wearing a Palestinian keffiyeh scarf who regaled him with antisemitic abuse.
Since the incident, “we only leave the house to go shopping,” Overbeck said.
Daniel Poensgen, a consultant with Rias, told broadcaster DW on Tuesday that the targeting of private homes represented a worrying escalation.
“There are places, such as certain neighborhoods or soccer matches, where Jews say, ‘OK, the mood is aggressive right now, I won’t go there,’” he said. “That’s not possible in your own living environment. The stairwell comes first in an apartment, you have to pass through it every day, and that’s why these incidents are particularly threatening.”
Poensgen also observed that “antisemitism acts as a bridging ideology and brings people from very different parts of the political spectrum together.” He pointed out that “people who actually see themselves as left-wing demonstrate together with Islamists and perhaps also together with right-wing extremists such as supporters of the [Turkish fascist organization] Gray Wolves.”
The number of incidents registered by Rias is notably higher than the 680 registered by the interior ministry since Oct. 7. The discrepancy lies in the fact that Rias registers as antisemitic those incidents that do not necessarily meet a criminality threshold.
In its analysis accompanying the data, Rias observed that many German Jews were removing outwardly Jewish symbols such as kippot and Star of David necklaces before venturing outside. “We also received reports from parents who temporarily stopped sending their children to schools or daycare centers for fear of antisemitic attacks,” the organization said.
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Treasure Trove: Remembering Yoni Netanyahu, a heroic soldier and leader
Jonathan (Yoni) Netanyahu was the older brother of Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister. He was the commander of the Entebbe Operation on July 4, 1976 when Israel rescued 102 hostages who had been on a flight hijacked by Palestinian and German terrorists and ordered to land in Entebbe, Uganda. Yoni was the only Israeli soldier killed in […]
The post Treasure Trove: Remembering Yoni Netanyahu, a heroic soldier and leader appeared first on The Canadian Jewish News.
Pope Condemns Anti-Judaism, Antisemitism Amid New Wave of Attacks Against Jews
Pope Francis condemned all forms of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, labeling them as a “sin against God,” after noticing an increase in attacks against Jews around the world.
“(The Church) rejects every form of anti-Judaism and antisemitism, unequivocally condemning manifestations of hatred towards Jews and Judaism as a sin against God,” the pontiff wrote in a letter to the Jewish population of Israel dated Feb. 2 and made public on Saturday.
“Together with you, we, Catholics, are very concerned about the terrible increase in attacks against Jews around the world. We had hoped that ‘never again’ would be a refrain heard by the new generations,” he added.
The Pope noted that wars and divisions are increasing all over the world “in a sort of piecemeal world war,” hitting the lives of many populations.
Francis, 87, has condemned Hamas’ Oct. 7 cross-border attack from Gaza into southern Israel. He has also said on several occasions that a two-state solution was needed to put an end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In his letter, the pope also called, once again, for the release of those hostages still being held by militants.
He said his heart was torn at the sight of the conflict in the Holy Land and the division and hatred stemming from it, adding that the world was looking at the unfolding of events in the area with “apprehension and pain.”
He assured the Jewish community of his closeness and affection, “particularly (those) consumed by anguish, pain, fear and even anger,” repeating his call for the end of the war.
Francis said he prayed for peace. “My heart is close to you, to the Holy Land, to all the peoples who inhabit it, Israelis and Palestinians, and I pray that the desire for peace may prevail in all.”
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Israel Says It Has Struck More than 50 Hezbollah Targets in Syria Since Oct 7
The Israeli military said on Saturday that since the outbreak of the Gaza war on Oct. 7 it had struck more than 50 targets in Syria linked to the Iranian-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah.
The remarks, in a briefing by chief military spokesperson Rear Admiral Daniel Hagari that mainly discussed efforts to beat back Hezbollah attacks launched in solidarity with Hamas, were a departure from Israel’s usual reticence about Syria operations.
“Everywhere Hezbollah is, we shall be. We will take action everywhere required in the Middle East,” Hagari said.
Israeli forces have attacked 34,000 Hezbollah targets in Lebanon, including 120 border surveillance outposts, 40 caches of missiles and other weaponry and more than 40 command centers, Hagari said. He put the number of enemy dead at more than 200.
Hagari said Israel had deployed three army divisions along its side of the Lebanese border in anticipation of Hezbollah getting involved after Palestinian Hamas launched a shock cross-border attack on Oct. 7, triggering the war in the Gaza Strip.
With tens of thousands of its northern residents having evacuated, Israel has threatened to escalate the Lebanon fighting unless Hezbollah backs off from the border – and has sought Western help in finding a diplomatic solution in Beirut.
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