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German Court rules that attempt to set fire to Synagogue amounts to criticism of Israel

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A Court in the German city Wuppertall upheld a previous decision that the attempt to burn a Synagogue was merely an act of protest against Israel’s actions in the 2014 Gaza War.

The attempted arson was committed by three German Palestinians during the 2014 War. They hurled Molotov cocktails through the windows of the Shul.

The court of first instance said that the acts were an attempt to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict”, and did not constitute antisemitism.

31-year-old Mohamad E., the 26 year-old Ismail A. and the 20-year-old Mohammad A. were given suspended sentences.

Wuppertal’s Synagogue was destroyed during the 1939 Nazi pogrom Kristallnacht, and the new building suffered 800 Euros of damage from the attack.

Thankfully, nobody was hurt in this arson attack, and the alert was raised by a boy who saw the flames from his house.

Volker Beck said that the judgment was in error, saying the “attack on the synagogue was motivated by antisemitism”, asking “what do Jews in Germany have to do with the Middle East conflict? Every bit as much as Christians, non-religious people or Muslims in Germany, namely, absolutely nothing. The ignorance of the judiciary toward antisemitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming”

Mr Beck is entirely correct in his analysis. The International Definition of Antisemitism states that “holding Jews collectively responsible for actions of the state of Israel”. It is beyond belief that an attempt to set fire to a Synagogue has been minimised as merely “criticism of Israel” by a Court of Law. If even arson attacks against Jewish communal buildings can be passed off as just a case of political protest taken too far, then almost all antisemitism can be minimised as related to Israel in some way. This incident thus shows the urgent need for Western Governments and their institutions to adopt the International Definition of Antisemitism, which we have been pressuring for for a long time, and to ensure that it is understood and applied consistently.

You can read the International Definition of Antisemitism here.

 

 


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By Daniel Leons-Marder

Daniel Leons-Marder is the editor of Everyday Antisemitism.

He first became involved with Campaign Against Antisemitism when he became aware of Holocaust denial books being sold by Amazon. He graduated in Summer 2016 with First Class Honours and as Dux Litterarum in Comparative Literature and Philosophy from Royal Holloway. He is currently at law school. He was previously a recording and touring musician.