September 11, 2017 | The Jerusalem Post
As Antisemitism Rises, Germany Labels Hezbollah Right-Wing Extremist Group
The German government reported to Green Party deputy Volker Beck on Friday an increase in the number of criminal antisemitic acts in the country. This includes Israel-related antisemitism, and the classification of Hezbollah’s crimes as far-right extremism.
Beck received the information in his role as president of the German-Israeli Parliamentary Friendship Group in the Bundestag.
There were 681 antisemitic incidents in the first half of 2017 – a 4% increase over the same period in 2016 (in which 654 criminal antisemitic acts took place), the federal government said.
Beck told The Jerusalem Post: “The antisemitic and anti-Israel criminal offenses are only the tip of the iceberg.”
The registered offenses are only those where the victims came forward to report, he said.
“The estimated number of unreported cases, I fear, is clearly higher,” said Beck.
Dr. Emily Haber, from the German Federal Interior Ministry, said there were 20 “politically motivated criminal offenses under the category ‘Israel’” in the first half of the year.
The police conducted investigations of 12 alleged perpetrators. There were no physical injuries reported.
In the same period in 2016, 17 political crimes against Israel were registered.
The authorities investigated six suspects and no injuries were cited.
Anti-Israel criminal acts were listed under the sub-topic “Israel-Palestine conflict.”
Starting in January 2017, politically animated attacks against Israel are listed under the sub-rubric “Israel.”
The suspects hailed from Germany, Jordan, Syria and Turkey.
Antisemitic acts not related to Israel accounted for 681 offenses in the first half of 2017. The authorities investigated 339 people, and nine people were injured. In 2016, the government registered 654 antisemitic criminal crimes, and 400 suspects were investigated.
Eight people were injured because of antisemitic offenses in 2016.
According to the federal statistics, 92.8% of criminal acts had a right-wing extremist background. However, the government’s classification system has been called into question.
Benjamin Steinitz, the head of the RIAS group in Berlin that tracks antisemitism, told Die Welt paper on Friday there is a “discrepancy between the perception of antisemitic attacks, insults and taunts, and police statistics.”
The crime of “Jew-hatred” is classified in the category of “politically motivated right-wing extremist crime,” according to a 2017 federal report on antisemitism.
A telling example, cited in Die Welt, was an outbreak of Islamic-animated antisemitism that was registered as right-wing extremism.
Supporters of the US- and EU-designated terrorist organization Hezbollah participated in an anti-Israel march during Operation Protective Edge in 2014. Twenty Hezbollah supporters yelled the Nazi slogan “Sieg Heil” (Hail victory) at a group of pro-Israel activists in Berlin. The “Sieg Heil” call violates Germany’s anti-hate law and was registered as a far-right extremist crime.
There are 250 active Hezbollah supporters and members in Berlin, and 950 Hezbollah operatives spread across the Federal Republic. Germany’s Interior Ministry has declined to outlaw Hezbollah’s “political” wing.
According to Die Welt’s report, “The Islamic share of antisemitic offenses is clearly undercounted in police statistics.”
Beck said that according to the federal report, 40% of Germany’s population of 82 million are infected with contemporary antisemitism – hatred of the Jewish state.
“We must fight all forms of antisemitism,” he said. Beck called on the federal government to appoint a commissioner for antisemitism, as well as for civic society organizations to establish “educational programs against modern forms of antisemitism, conspiracy theories and anti-Zionism.”
Charlotte Knobloch, the head of Munich’s Jewish community, said in a statement on Friday: “The Muslim associations have for decades not only done nothing [to combat antisemitism], rather they have allowed antisemitic hate-preachers from Muslim countries to bring their anti-Jewish ideology into German mosques and into the heads of young Muslims.”
Benjamin Weinthal is a research fellow at the nonpartisan Foundation for Defense of Democracies. You can follow him on Twitter @BenWeinthal.
You can follow the Foundation for Defense of Democracies on Twitter @FDD.