Rightist political crimes rise in Germany


BERLIN (JTA) — Germany’s annual report on extremism shows a record number of right-wing politically motivated crimes were committed in 2008.

The report, released Tuesday, also shows a rise in the number of Islamist extremists traveling from Germany to Pakistan.

But the total number of registered anti-Semitic crimes dropped about 4.2 percent, from 1,541 in 2007 to 1,477. Within the 2008 total, the number of violent incidents also dropped, from 59 to 44. In all, 3 percent of all politically right-wing crimes are both extremist and anti-Semitic in nature, the report said.

Still, anti-Semitism remained a central theme among right-wing extremists, who in 2008 spread conspiracy theories regarding the world financial crisis aimed at sparking anti-Jewish sentiments in the general population. Germany’s main far-right political party, the National Democratic Party of Germany, made no secret of its hatred for Jews in numerous statements related to both domestic and foreign policy. In addition, far-right music continued to feature anti-Semitic themes among its hate-filled lyrics.

According to the report, anti-Zionist anti-Semitism continued to fluctuate depending on events in the Middle East, and took its harshest form in the "questioning of Israel’s right to exist," a way that right-wing extremists conceal their fundamental rejection of Jewry.

When they equate Israel’s treatment of Palestinians with the crimes of National Socialism, "they are trying to relativize the unique historical event of the Holocaust," the 305-page draft document read in part.

Though right-wing extremists and Islamic extremists seldom overlap in activities, they both continued to call the Holocaust a "founding myth" for Israel, and both use the Internet as their most important communication and propaganda tool, the report found.

The report also said that the number of radical Islamists in Germany has grown, according to German Minister of the Interior Wolfgang Schäuble. Though there have been no successful terrorist attacks in Germany, the government considers Germany to be "definitely within the sights" of radical Islamists.

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