“I cannot advise Jews to wear the Kippah everywhere all the time in Germany.”
That’s what Felix Klein, Germany’s commissioner on anti-Semitism, said in an interview with the Funke regional press group published on Saturday. He blamed “the lifting of inhibitions and the uncouthness which is on the rise in society” for the rise in anti-Semitism.
Klein’s comments were made in response to new crime data that showed continued growth in anti-Semitic criminal acts, with the vast majority of perpetrators being members of the German far-right, and not new immigrants from predominantly Muslim countries — a common scapegoat.
Germany’s national crime rate has actually fallen, dropping last year to the lowest level since 1992. The number of crimes committed by non-German individuals fell 23 percent. The one area of crime that saw a 2.5 percent increase was anti-Semitic attacks — with 94 percent of them committed by far-right German nationals in 2017. According to figures for 2018 released last week, far right individuals committed a similar percentage of anti-Semitic crimes.
President Donald Trump argued on Twitter last year that Germany’s crime rate was “way up” and blamed the immigration stance adopted by the Germans and other European countries that he viewed as too welcoming to refugees from North Africa and the Middle East. His criticism was wrong — the broader crime rate was lower than it had been in the past, and the share of crimes perpetrated by non-Germans actually fell. And that especially held true for people committing anti-Semitic crimes.
“Anti-Semitism has always been here,” Claudia Vanioni, a German legal expert on anti-Semitism, told AFP. “But I think that recently, it has again become louder, more aggressive and flagrant.”
The final results for the recent European Union Parliament election began to come in on Sunday evening, with pro-EU blocs vying with anti-EU, nativist blocs. In Germany, the early returns appeared to show a strong showing for the pro-immigration Greens, and losses for the traditionally successful centrist bloc. The populist, euroskeptic AfD party did not perform as well as it did in the previous election. AfD’s reputation has been marred by accusations of anti-Semitism after members made anti-Semitic comments and trivialized the Holocaust.