In Germany, at least. A second court has now confirmed:
A German regional court in the city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision last Friday stating that a violent attempt to burn the city’s synagogue by three men in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel’s policies.
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.
Now perhaps in a legal sense, the motivation shouldn’t (but probably does) matter. Attack a building because you hate its occupants or attack a building because you hate the policy of a country and the damage is the same — and in this case blessedly light. The concept of a “hate crime” is Orwellian on the face of it.
But Germany, of all nations, ought to recognize an attack on Jews and Judiasm when it sees one. To tell yourself — and the public — and the perpetrators — that torching a synagogue in Germany is a form of legitimate political protest against Israel is delusional. Either that or it’s excuse-making and enabling.