German judge says three Palestinian-Germans who torched a synagogue weren’t motivated by anti-semitism

“They were just trying to express their criticism of Israel and bring attention to the Gaza conflict.” A regional court in Germany has concluded that an attempt to set fire to a local synagogue with molotov cocktails in 2014 was an act meant to express criticism against Israel’s conduct in its ongoing conflict with Gaza.

So, which Gaza conflict would that be – the one where every Jews was forced by the Israeli military to leave their homes and businesses in Gaza and turn them over to the Muslims in 2005? Or is it the Gaza conflict where Muslims were launching thousands of rockets into Israel until Israel was forced to respond as they did with Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 to stop Hamas rocket attacks into Israel.

JPost (h/t Susan K) Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, outlined the court’s decision in a statement.Three German Palestinians sought to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with Molotov cocktails in July, 2014.  The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three men wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel. The court deemed the attack not to be motivated by antisemitism.

The court sentenced the three men – the 31-year-old Mohamad E., the 26 year-old Ismail A. and the 20-year-old Mohammad A.—to suspended sentences. The men tossed self-made Molotov cocktails at the synagogue. 

The original synagogue in Wuppertal was burned by Germans during the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938.   Several days before the fire, a person sprayed “Free Palestine” on a wall of the synagogue.


After the local Wuppertal court decision in 2015, Volker Beck, a leading Green Party MP,  said the “attack on the synagogue was motivated by antisemitism” and blasted the court for issuing a decision stating that the goal of the attack was to highlight the war in Gaza.

“This is a mistaken decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned,” he said, adding that the burning of a synagogue in Germany because of the Middle East conflict can be attributed only to antisemitism. 

“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, ” said Beck.

Germany has added more than one million refugees from mainly Muslim-majority countries in 2015 alone. German Jewish leaders have warned about rising anti-Semitism because the refugees are socialized in countries that are steeped in hatred of Jews and Israel.

Yet, as you can see below, Jews are often their own worst enemy:

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