- The Washington Times - Friday, January 13, 2017

A German regional court has ruled that three men who used Molotov cocktails in July 2014 to torch a synagogue were not influenced by anti-Semitism.

A Wuppertal judge last Friday upheld a lower court’s 2015 ruling that German-Palestinians convicted of arson against the city’s synagogue did so merely to “criticize Israel” and “bring attention to the Gaza conflict.” Fire damage caused by 31-year-old Mohamad E., 26-year-old Ismail A. and 20-year-old Mohammad A. (full names withheld by German authorities) totaled almost $850.

The court went on to cite Israel’s Operation Protective Edge against Hamas in the summer of 2014 — and the criminals’ consumption of alcohol — as the apparent impetus for the crime, the Jerusalem Post reported Friday.

“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,” said Volker Beck, a leading Green Party MP, after the lower court’s initial ruling, JP reported. “The ignorance of the judiciary toward anti-Semitism is for many Jews in Germany especially alarming.”

The is not the first time Wuppertal’s court system has made national news in a story linked to Islam. Its district court judges ruled last November that gangs of men who harangued citizens in 2014 while wearing “shariah police” vests did not break any laws.

A judge ruled that there was no “intimidating effect” from the group’s behavior, which was headed by extremist preacher Sven Lau, Deutsche Welle reported Nov. 21, 2016.

• Douglas Ernst can be reached at dernst@washingtontimes.com.

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