Even as some U.S. businesses and politicians label Elon Musk an antisemite and claim that he has turned a blind eye to hate speech posted on X, the social media platform he acquired last year when it was called Twitter, authorities in other countries are taking a much harsher stance toward individuals accused of spreading such content online.
In Germany, where leaders have spent decades attempting to rehabilitate the nation’s image after the Nazi uprising and Holocaust, Bavarian police recently conducted raids of at least 17 individuals accused of posting hate speech directed at Jews.
Antisemitism around the world has seen a troubling uptick in the wake of last month’s Hamas attack on Israel, and the suspects in Germany reportedly expressed support for the deadly actions of the terrorist group.
Pro-Israel advocates describe witnessing antisemitism since Oct. 7: 'Don't really feel safe' https://t.co/utqvU9Iyp9
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The suspects included 15 men and two women between the ages of 18 and 62 and authorities reportedly took electronic devices and an array of other evidence during the raids. Most of the suspects lived in Munich, according to reports, but raids were also conducted elsewhere across the state.
“Unfortunately, antisemitism has an impact on the daily life of many Jews in Germany,” explained Micahel Weinzierl, who serves as the Bavarian police commissioner against hate crime, noting that the Hamas attack “also has an impact on their lives in Germany.”
Among the alleged actions of the suspects was a WhatsApp group chat post that read “Gas the Jews” and a personal social media post claiming that Jews deserved to be “exterminated.”
Despite robust anti-hate speech laws nationwide, particularly related to antisemitism and Holocaust denial, the chancellor and president of Germany recently acknowledged that such sentiments have been on the rise over the past several weeks.
“It is unbearable that Jews are living in fear again — in our country of all places,” declared President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. “Every single attack on Jews, on Jewish institutions, is a disgrace for Germany. And every single attack fills me with shame and anger.”
Chancellor Olaf Scholz offered a similar statement, asserting: “I am deeply outraged by the way in which antisemitic hatred and inhuman agitation have been breaking out since that fateful Oct. 7, on the internet, in social media around the world, and shamefully also here in Germany. Here in Germany, of all places.”