BERLIN (JTA) – An exponential rise in anti-Israel crimes in Germany committed by foreigners and immigrants in 2014 points to an urgent need for action, a German politician said. The government should support Arab and Muslim groups engaged in education against antisemitism and anti-Zionism, Green Party parliamentarian Volker Beck said in a statement after the government release of statistics showing a marked increase in both antisemitic and anti-Israel crimes last year.
Responding to Beck’s official query, the government reported last week that crimes under the category of “Israel-Palestinian Conflict” increased to 575 in 2014 from 41 in 2013. Of these, 331 were “politically motivated crimes committed by foreigners” and 91 were violent crimes. The previous year, there were no violent crimes registered in this category. Policymakers “must not close their eyes to this finding,” Beck said.
Deidre Berger, director of the American Jewish Committee’s Berlin office, told the Tagesspiegel daily newspaper that statistics don’t even include many incidents, such as “hostility expressed on the streets, schoolyards and sports fields.” “The threshold for anti-Semitic hate speech and violent attacks is dropping,” she said.
Not all anti-Israel crimes are categorized as antisemitic. But in a recent court case in Essen, judges upheld the conviction of an anti-Israel agitator for incitement to hate. The case is considered an important milestone by pro-Israel observers.