A German regional court in the western city of Wuppertal affirmed a lower court decision on Friday determining that a failed attempt by three Palestinian terrorists to burn down the city’s synagogue in 2014 was a justified expression of criticism of Israel.
Johannes Pinnel, a spokesman for the regional court in Wuppertal, explained the court’s decision in a statement.
Three German Palestinians attempted to torch the Wuppertal synagogue with a number of Molotov cocktails in July, 2014.
The local Wuppertal court panel said in its 2015 decision that the three Muslim terrorists wanted to draw “attention to the Gaza conflict” with Israel, lending credibility to the claim the defendants made.
The court believed this claim and deemed the attack not to be motivated by anti semitism.
The court sentenced the three terrorists, 31-year-old Mohamad E., 26 year-old Ismail A. and 20-year-old Mohammad A., to suspended sentences.
The court said the men had consumed alcohol before the attack and there were no injuries to members of the synagogue.
A 13-year-old who lived near the synagogue and noticed the flames informed the police.
The attack caused $850 in damages to the synagogue.
Several days prior to the attack, an unknown person sprayed “Free Palestine” on one of the synagogues’ wall.
Wuppertal has a population of nearly 344,000 and a Jewish community of roughly 2000.
The city’s original synagogue was burned by Germans during the Kristallnacht pogroms in 1938.
Volker Beck, a leading Green Party MP, blasted the court local Wuppertal court decision in 2015, saying the “attack on the synagogue was motivated by anti semitism.”
“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 only be defined as 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, ” said Beck.