antisemitism,  Germany

Torching synagogue is ‘criticism of Israel’ not antisemitism

This extraordinary verdict is receiving little mainstream (anglophone) news coverage outside Israel.  The earlier decision that a 2014 arson attack against a synagogue in Germany should not be deemed antisemitic was upheld by a regional court in Wuppertal.

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.

It is stated in the report that:

Several days before the fire, a person sprayed “Free Palestine” on a wall of the synagogue.

This shouldn’t be complicated.  It’s quite possible for an attack on a synagogue both to be motivated by a wish to draw ‘attention the Gaza conflict’ and be antisemitic.  The Wuppertal case echoes one example used by the CST’s Mark Gardner in his reflections on defining antisemitic incidents.

The hatred is showing clear trends. Shouting ‘Free Gaza’ on a pro-Palestinian demonstration is not antisemitic: but obviously is when yelled at a random Jew in the street, or when daubed on a synagogue wall.

Here’s a link, via Google translate,  to further background from Der Spiegel, and more information about the impact this case has had on Wuppertal’s Jewish community.