When I first these reports last year, I was suspicious. It didn’t fit with my day-to-day reading of the news. But I didn’t have time to look into it.
Now it turns out that the figures blaming the “far-right” for the antisemitic incidents were utterly bogus. The vast majority of these incidents have almost certainly carried out by Muslims.
The German government has adopted a bizarre methodology for cataloguing these incidents, one that seems to have been designed deliberately to exculpate Muslims and blame the “far right”.
What is the methodology? Basically, “far right” is the default option. So if there’s an antisemitic incident, the perpetrators aren’t caught, and there are no compelling indications to the contrary, it will automatically be attributed to the “far right”.
There are significant doubts about these figures. Benjamin Steinitz, director of the Recherche- und Informationsstelle Antisemitismus (RIAS) [Antisemitism Research and Information Centre] in Berlin, speaks of a “discrepancy between the perception of antisemitic attacks, insults and abuse and the police statistics.” Steinitz was speaking to the “Die Welt” newspaper about the report of the “Independent Antisemitism Expert Group” which was presented in April 2017 at the federal government’s instigation.
It said that xenophobic and antisemitic crimes were generally always assigned to the “politically-motivated right-wing criminality” sphere of action “if no other specific details are apparent” and “no suspects have been identified.” A slogan such as “Juden raus” is generally classified as “far-right” in the statistics, although it is also used in Islamist circles. “This may create in image that is distorted to the right,” write the authors of the expert report.
A poll among Jews in Germany speaks in favour of this assumption. 8% indicated that in the course of the previous year relatives or acquaintances had been the target of physical attacks. A further 36% had been insulted or abused. 81% of the attacks and 62% of the insults were said to have come from Muslims.