German minister blames far-right for rise in anti-Semitic crimes

Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced Wednesday that anti-Semitic attacks rose by 13 percent from 2018-2019, blaming far right extremism.

German police forces reported over 2,000 anti-Semitic offenses in 2019.

According to the Ministry of Interior, 2019’s figures are the highest number in attacks recorded since statistical reporting began in 2001.

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Overall, politically motivated crimes were up 14 percent. “The greatest threat remains [from] right-wing extremism," Seehofer said in a tweet Wednesday.

The findings also noted that over 93 percent of anti-Semitic crimes were perpetrated by right-wing extremists. Anti-Islam crimes were similarly high, with about 90 percent of the attacks attributed to far-right radicals.

“Anti-Semitism has become commonplace for Jews in Germany,” said Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews Wednesday.

“Unrestrained hatred strikes us. But also on the streets and in schools the rejection of Jews is a massive problem.”

Schuster also said that intolerance is still on the rise in Germany, suggesting the right-wing extremist attacks will likely increase in 2020 and that the coronavirus has amplified prejudices.

“We are again facing massive anti-Semitism this year,” Schuster said in Wednesday’s statement.

“Supporters of conspiracy myths and opponents of the measures against the pandemic do not even shy away from relativizing the Holocaust.”

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German police crime statistics show that overall crime is down, even as politically motivated crimes have increased.

"With 5.3 million crimes, we see a significant decrease in crimes while the population grows," Seehofer said in Wednesday’s press conference.

But officials remain concerned about rising levels of right-wing extremism.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addressed the worrying levels of anti-Semitism globally, earlier this year.

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“New York City saw a 21 percent rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes in 2019,” Guterres said in a Holocaust Remembrance Ceremony.

The United Kingdom also had a record high, with 16 percent increase in anti-Semitic attacks, while France saw a staggering 74 percent increase, according to the secretary-general.

“Special attention must be paid to growing right-wing extremism,” said Schuster Wednesday.

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