The German synagogue shooter was influenced by far-right conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic tropes

The German synagogue shooter was influenced by far-right conspiracy theories and anti-Semitic tropes

A man dressed in camouflage gear tried to enter a synagogue in the German town Halle during Yom Kippur prayer on Wednesday, 9 October. About 80 people were gathered inside at the time on what is the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.

Failing to enter, the man fired numerous shots at the entrance and then shot a 40-year-old woman who was walking by. After this he fired at a nearby kebab shop, killing a second person, a 20-year-old man, before fleeing by car.

15 kilometres later, in the town of Landsberg, he shot at two more people, a 40-year-old woman and 41-year-old man. Both are currently being treated for gunshot wounds. Here he abandoned his car, highjacked a taxi and fired more shots but thankfully didn’t hit any more people. Shortly afterwards the taxi he fled in was involved in an accident in which he was injured. He was then arrested and hospitalised.

Similarities to previous massacres

He livestreamed his attack just like the Christchurch shooter, with about 35 minutes streamed on Amazon’s Twitch. The stream was subsequently removed but copies are currently circulating online. As of Thursday morning the video had over 90,000 views on infamous alt-right platform BitChute.

A manifesto was also found online that links to the livestream and defines the perpetrator’s goal as “so viele Anti-Weiße zu töten wie möglich, vorzugsweise Juden” (to kill as many anti-whites as possible, preferably Jews).

The manifesto further states that the date of Yom Kippur was picked intentionally and that a mosque and an “antifa culture centre” were also considered. The perpetrator is a 27 year old who was not known to the police. His father described him as someone who always blame others for everything.

Meanwhile the Central Council of Jews in Germany has criticised the fact that there was no police protection in place during Yom Kippur.

Conspiracy theories and a global network

Right-wing views and anti-Semitism emerged as the driving forces behind the attack. The perpetrator subscribes to the “Great Replacement” theory that is also a key talking point of the Irish far right. He believes the Jews are behind this imagined ploy to decimate the white population of Europe and replace them with other ethnicities.

He also believes the Jews are behind feminism, which he describes as the driving force behind decreasing birth rates among white people in the western world.

The fact the perpetrator speaks English, albeit poorly, in his video illustrates the global connectedness and organisation of the far right. We are not dealing with a few unstable people who are isolated from each other. We are instead facing a global network with substantial financial backing. 

Featured image via ILTV Israel News – Screenshot

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