German Judge: Torching of Synagogue not motivated by anti-Semitism

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February 7, 2015 20:20

Two German Palestinians convicted of arson in July attack.

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Handcuffs

Handcuffs [Illustrative]. (photo credit: INIMAGE)

BERLIN – A German court in the city of Wuppertal convicted two German Palestinians on Thursday of an arson attack on a Synagogue but denied the crime was motivated by anti-Semitism, prompting Green Party deputy Volker Beck to urge the court to designate the act as anti-Semitic.

The Wuppertal court sentenced the two men, ages 24 and 29, to a suspended prison term of one year and three months. The two men, along with an 18-year-old juvenile, in July tossed Molotov cocktails at the synagogue in Wuppertal, a city in the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with a population of nearly 344,000. The court ordered all three to perform 200 hours of community service.

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Beck said on Saturday the “attack on the Synagogue was motivated by anti-Semitism” and blasted the court for issuing a decision stating that the goal of the attack was to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict.” Israel, last summer, was involved a 50-day war in the Gaza Strip.

“This is a mistaken decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned. Therefore, I have written the prosecutor and called for the filing of a legal objection,” he said, adding that the burning of a synagogue in Germany because of the Middle East conflict can be attributed only to anti-Semitism.

“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 anti-Semitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming.”

The three German Palestinians caused €800 damage to the synagogue. The original synagogue in Wuppertal was burned by Germans during the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938.

A 13-year-old who lived near the synagogue and noticed the flames informed the police. Several days before the fire, a person sprayed “Free Palestine” on a wall of the synagogue.

An increase of German anti-Semitism had prompted Chancellor Angela Merkel to speak at an anti-Jew hatred rally in September.


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