12 minutes ago
A synagogue burning in Germany is perhaps among the most literal illustrations of anti-Semitism imaginable.
But apparently, not all synagogue burnings are equal.
This week a German regional court ruled that the 2014 firebombing of a synagogue in Wuppertal, a region just east of Düsseldorf, was an act of criminal arson, but not anti-Semitic. Instead, the court found it was a protest against Israel, even though the synagogue was obviously not in Israel and those who worship there are Jews, not Israelis.
The decision upheld that of a lower court, which stated the perpetrators, a trio of Palestinian-born German residents, wanted to “call attention to the Gaza conflict” when they prepared and then lobbed Molotov cocktails at the synagogue one July night in 2014. No one was injured, but the attack caused €800 in damages. The men were ultimately given suspended sentences.
The court’s decision is baffling — and deeply troubling. The men didn’t target the Israeli Embassy or one of its consulates. They attacked a Jewish institution. To conflate Israelis with Jews — and to say that a disagreement with the policies of the former somehow justifies attacking the latter — is by definition anti-Semitic. And if there is a line between anti-Israel sentiments and anti-Semitic ones, this attack definitely crossed it.
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