Interior Minister Herrmann warns of growing anti-Semitism – Bavaria

Bavaria’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution and Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann are warning of a rise in anti-Semitism in the country. “In almost all extremist scenes we see agitators who agitate against Israel for very different motivations,” said the CSU politician on Monday at the presentation of the new report for the protection of the constitution. There were years in which the security authorities largely only dealt with right-wing extremism when it came to anti-Semitism. The Middle East conflict is now acting like an accelerant across the scenes. Hatred of Israel and fellow Jews is often the lowest common denominator; it unites ideological actors from different, even hostile spectrums. “They participate in pro-Palestinian meetings, use social media to spread hate, propaganda or fake news and also infiltrate our universities.” This is “unbearable,” especially given Germany’s historical responsibility.

According to Herrmann, this can be seen, for example, in Islamist groups. Their goal is also “to divide our pluralistic society and, in particular, to alienate the Muslim community from it.” The latest global political developments have increased the visibility of this scene, which has “a high potential for emotional radicalization.” Since, unlike the Syria conflict in the 2010s, there is hardly any opportunity for Islamists to leave the Gaza Strip, there is also “the risk that they will plan attacks on Israeli or Jewish representations and people in Germany.”

Left-wing extremists take corresponding positions, even downplaying or even denying the Hamas massacres. “Apparently a large part of the scene only supports human rights when it serves their own ideological worldview,” said Herrmann. Attempts to influence German universities to suppress pro-Israeli opinions through aggressive hostilities are also “worrying”. According to the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Burkhard Körner, “committees” have been formed at some Bavarian universities on the initiative of students – at events the atrocities of Hamas are then presented as a legitimate defense. Even at demonstrations where most visitors peacefully express their concerns about an escalation in the Middle East, voices are heard that deny Israel’s right to exist.

The Office for the Protection of the Constitution notes that actors in foreign-related extremism are also active with anti-Semitism, such as Palestinian extremists or Turkish left- and right-wing extremists. According to the report, there is explicit anti-Semitism in right-wing extremism in the classic scene. The “New Right”, which has overlaps with the AfD, is more about conspiracy stories; for example, propaganda about Jewish elites in connection with the corona pandemic or an allegedly planned system collapse, the “Great Reset”.

The attempt by extremists from all areas to gain a foothold through civil protests or socially controversial issues is an overall trend. Actors of all stripes have “intensified their efforts to divide society and infiltrate the political discourse with their positions,” said Herrmann. It is precisely at demonstrations by the bourgeois center, whether about climate change, the future of agriculture or the Middle East conflict, that “they mix with the people as free riders in order to advance their own extremist agenda.” This is a “cynical game” and every new crisis is exploited.

More moderate forces no longer played a role in the AfD

The right-wing extremist potential increased to 2,725 in 2023. This is mainly the result of an increase in members of the Junge Alternative. The AfD’s offspring is officially listed as right-wing extremist, the ethnic “wing” of the party is no longer listed as it has been formally dissolved. The board of the Bavarian AfD and the state parliamentary group are dominated by this current. The AfD regional association has been under observation by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution since 2022. This is intended to clarify to what extent the party “pursues efforts that impair or attempt to eliminate the core of the Basic Law.” However, the observation does not extend to all officials or members, but primarily examines the influence of extremists.

The Interior Minister said on Monday that anti-constitutional tendencies were spreading within the AfD in Bavaria; more moderate forces hardly played any role anymore. The party’s networking in the extremist “front row” has also increased qualitatively and quantitatively. This means, for example, increased visible contacts with the so-called Identitarian Movement (IB). A secret meeting with representatives of the AfD and IB in Dasing, Swabia, on the topic of “remigration” recently caused a stir; Two members of the state parliament also took part. The IB, emphasized Herrmann, understands “remigration” not only to mean the return of foreigners who are obliged to leave the country, but also of German citizens with a migration background. This degradation of people to “second class citizens” is incompatible with the Basic Law.

Further findings of the new report: The “Reichsbürger” scene was more popular in 2023, with 5,406 people included in the spectrum, a record high. The Free State is trying to identify and disarm supporters of the heterogeneous movement. In 2023 alone, a revocation of the weapons license was initiated against 29 suspected Reich citizens. The Office for the Protection of the Constitution is concerned about the increase in violent crimes in left-wing extremism. Last year, 21 arson and explosives crimes were attributed to the scene, and eleven cases were attributed to attacks on infrastructure. In Islamism, the Afghan IS offshoot “Islamic State – Khorasan Province” (ISPK) is particularly in focus. According to Herrmann, ISPK propaganda organs are increasingly calling for attacks in Europe, for example during major events. “We are therefore very vigilant with a view to the upcoming European Football Championship.”

source site