Pro-Palestinian protest (illustrative)
Pro-Palestinian protest (illustrative)Flash90

Reacting to a report released on Wednesday that documented over 200 anti-Semitic incidents that happened in Germany during May’s conflict between Israel and Hamas, German Jewish leader Josef Schuster said the uptick in anti-Jewish abuse had “nothing to do with legitimate criticism of Israel” and was part of the “new anti-Semitism.”

Schuster, the president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, was speaking in reference to a report compiled by RIAS, a government anti-Semitism watchdog, and IIBSA, a think tank that researches anti-Semitism. The report delved into the surge in anti-Semitism that took place in May during the fighting between Israel and Hamas, during which Hamas fired over 4,000 rockets into Israel, and in its aftermath.

The IIBSA described the report as demonstrating the urgency to “focus [on] structures that fuel anti-Semitic hatred and incite violence and terror.”

The report listed 22 cases of property damage, 10 physical assault, and over 200 cases of anti-Semitic verbal abuse and harassment during May, according to the Taggespiegel newspaper.

It noted that 76 incident occurred at the site of pro-Palestinian demonstrations and rallies, out of 121 such demonstrations occurring in Germany between May 9 and May 24.

May 15, which was also the day Palestinian Arabs refer to as “Nakba Day,” saw the highest level of anti-Semitic abuse, with 59 incidents reported at 30 pro-Palestinian demonstrations across the country. In Berlin, protesters hurled slurs such as “Israel murders children,” and also threw stones and bottles at riot police. In another area of Berlin, three young Jews were descended upon by an angry mob of pro-Palestinian protestors.

The report mentioned that several Islamist organizations and individuals were charged with anti-Semitic incitement. Alongside these groups were domestic neo-Nazis, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and the Palestinian Community in Germany, which Germany considers the German arm of Hamas.

Schuster said that the report reflected the fact that the protests had been “politically controlled” and were not examples of “spontaneous gatherings of citizens.”

He added that the evidence gathered demonstrated that “law enforcement authorities need specialized staff and training in order to be able to take targeted action against this anti-Semitism” which is “essential for the internal peace of our country.”