Photo Credit: Atamari / Wikimedia Commons
Synagogue in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, rebuilt. Original synagogue was destroyed during Kristallnacht, 1938.

Three German Palestinians convicted of arson after hurling firebombs at a synagogue in Germany were motivated by trying to bring “attention to the Gaza conflict,” according to the judge who convicted them on Thursday, Jerusalem Post journalist Benjamin Weinthal reported.

The judge in the case did not believe the men were guilty of anti-Semitism, according to outraged Green Party deputy Volker Beck, who told media he wrote to the prosecutor in the case to file a legal objection, reported.


Several days prior to the firebombing, “Free Palestine” had been sprayed in paint on to the wall of the synagogue as well.

The rebuilt synagogue in Wuppertal, North Rhine-Westphalia was undamaged in the July 29, 2014 attack, which sparked a solidarity rally outside the building that same night. Dieter Graumann, then-president of the German Central Council of Jews, condemned the attack as did Germany’s Central Council of Muslims.

The two older attackers, ages 29 and 24, were given suspended sentences of 15 months in prison – which means they served no time – and together with their 18-year-old accomplice were ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.

“This is a mistaken decision as far as the motives of the perpetrators are concerned,” Beck told international media in a statement. “Therefore, I have written the prosecutor and called for the filing of a legal objection.“ Burning a synagogue in Germany because of a conflict in the Middle East can be attributed only to anti-Semitism, Beck contended.

“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, he said.”

The original Wuppertal synagogue was burned down by Germans during the pogrom of Kristallnacht in 1938, but the echoes of the past seem to be growing louder. The German state has seen an upswing in anti-Semitism, as has the country in general.

Anti-Semitism in Germany is on the rise, according to the Central Council of Jews in Germany, as it is in other countries across Europe.

Graumann offered a sobering comment on the situation just before leaving his post in an interview with BILD newspaper in November 2014: “For a while I noticed that anti-Semitism is becoming increasingly public and is no longer hidden. We often receive anti-Semitic messages sent according to name and address. Some people are no longer ashamed and no longer hide their hostility to Jews.

“We have seen … during the war in Gaza, demonstrations of pure primitive hatred against the Jews that broke out again. It is very hard for me to talk about it but, when there are calls in the streets of Germany, ‘Jews to the gas,’ it hurts us greatly,” he added.

Two weeks prior to the publication of Graumann’s interview, the neo-Nazi ‘Die Rechte’ party (The Right) demanded to know where all the Jews live in the city of Dortmund.

‘Die Rechte’ wrote to Mayor Ullrich Sierau through one of its city council members, Dennis Giemsch, seeking to know how many Jews live in the city and in which districts, and their addresses, according to a post on the Coordination Forum for Countering Anti-Semitism (CFCA).

Giemsch, a full-time computer student, wrote that the information was ‘relevant for our political work.’

The demand was refused and the letter was passed to the Interior Ministry of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia – the same state in which the torched synagogue is located – and which is “looking at ways to legally ban the party.”

The political party is the smallest of the far-right groups in Germany, but its numbers are growing, particularly among the young, according to the CFCA.


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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for, and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.


  1. People don’t want to be killed and they need to protect their families. These judges have the same concerns. These people are evil and it’s all over the world. The judge knows he and his family can and will be targetted if he passses down the right judgemen which of course is justice for the synagogue. so, he passes down the wrong judgement to save his life and his family’s as well. And DO NOT FOR ONE MINUTE think that the pope or whomever is going to get involved with the Jews. They can’t. It will compromise what they’re trying to do which is to keep the franchise alive. They will NEVER condemn such atrocities or say anything humane or civil in such situations…NEVER! Nothing has changed and sadly…it never will.

  2. Harvey Herman , well said the quran , koran , curan , what ever that book call just like wa5ching the movie Zoombie. about blood thirsty n retarted I bet u n I dont like that movie , but Zahid will like because that what muzzies praises violence n blood thirsty.

  3. Harvey Herman , well said the quran , koran , curan , what ever that book call just like wa5ching the movie Zoombie. about blood thirsty n retarted I bet u n I dont like that movie , but Zahid will like because that what muzzies praises violence n blood thirsty.

  4. Judeges aren't stupid, so he must also be anti-semite and tippy-toeing around the real issue. He gave them a "non-sentence", so he must sympathize with the perpetrators.

  5. A synagogue is the embodiment of practice of the Jewish faith. If bombing a synagogue does not qualify as an Anti-Semitic act, I can't think of what would. The judge in this case has not simply turned logic on its head but conspicuously revealed his own anti-Semitic disposition.

  6. It is these types of non-sentences and rulings that say to others, "Do what you will to Jews… we don't care and will protect you." Coming on the heels of so many attacks against Jews, this is either an act of stupidity or one of anti-Semitism.

  7. The real issue here is fear amongst the Germans who after losing several disastrous wars have decided toggle eace and harmony a chance to exist. I attended Kirchentag in Berlin several years ago. Kirchentag is Evangelical(Lutheran) Church Day. I noticed that the police cars guarding this rather peaceful event had metal bars on the windows of their cars. I asked an officer why were they "so afraid of the celebrants?" he replied that the Protestants who were enjoying themselves were not the problem. It was the Moslems who want to end this joyous celebration. The police were afraid that a riot would or could ensue at any moment. Everyone who is not a Moslem in Greater Germany today is afraid of what could happen should the savage Moslems start their Jihad in Greater Germany.

  8. The problem I have with this is that in the history of Pre-Nazi Weimar judges were a key element in the successful takeover of the German Bureaucratic machinery – national socialist convictions for any crime committed against any perceived enemy of the future Reich were rare and when conviction did occur, judgments were inevitably derisory. The same did not apply for Left wing crimes against national socialism. This judge is going down the same path as Nazism did.

  9. It wasn't just in the past. It was just hidden by the shame of inaction to the Shoah. It didn't take long to come back. Not just Europe. Look at how fast it's surfaced in Turkey. In some ways I suppose I was lucky being exposed to it in middle and high school.

  10. Sylvie Schapira Your line of thinking brings out the Holocaust in everyone who is not Jewish. It is about time that the Jews follow the likes of a Rabbi Kahane and start to learn how to defend themselves. The only way to deal with these savages is to take the "fight" to them and either hurt these bastards, or kill them.

  11. At least call them arabs and not some invented Palestinian people which they are not never were and never will be. All people referred to as Palestinian before the 1948 rebirth of Israel were Jews!! Palestine brigade, all Jews. Palestine philharmonic orchestra, all Jews!!

  12. I am also of German descent and I am also totally ashamed – actually of ANY happening in Greater Germany which smells even only slightly of Anti-semitism.
    Germany needs to take extra-ordinary care to avoid and/or to eradicate any anti-semitism from the country.

  13. There is not a shred of evidence to your statement. That's like saying that all Jews are crooks simply because Bernard Madoff was a crook, or all Southerners who live in the American South belong to the KKK. There is good and bad in everybody, but to lump all of the Germans because of the acts of very few people who actually were real Nazis is very wrong.

  14. Cody Flecker – right excusing Islamofascists from any sort of punishment because the victims are Jews is not a shred of evidence.

    About as moronic a statement as the one Odumba made about there was not a “smidgen” of corruption in the IRS.

    If the shoe fits wear it

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