Wuppertal’s synagogues had been destroyed on Kristallnacht. By the time the war was over, the 3,000 Jews living in this German city had been reduced to a community of 60. 75 years after Kristallnacht, the Bergische Synagogue began to burn after three Muslim men had thrown six Molotov cocktails at it.
The Jews of Wuppertal however have nothing to worry about. Judge Jörg Sturm found that the attack was not anti-Semitic, but had only been a way of bringing “attention to the Gaza conflict”.
It wasn’t anti-Semitism, but anti-Zionism.
The three Muslim men, two named Mohammed and one named Ismail, received suspended sentences and 200 hours of community service. In their defense, they claimed that they wanted to “send a signal”, but had not intended to set a synagogue on fire when they threw firebombs at it.
The men claimed that “they weren’t aware that by throwing them they could burn the synagogue or injure other people.”
Inside the synagogue, a blandly anonymous brick building whose only sign that it is a synagogue is a small line of Hebrew letters over the doors containing Isaiah’s prophetic message, “My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples”, there are security cameras, bulletproof glass and a security guard behind glass. The building is squat with tall narrow windows. Its fort-like construction is a far cry from the baroque onion domes of the Barmen synagogue destroyed on Kristallnacht that it was meant to replace. The only element that has remained the same is the prophecy of Isaiah over the doors.
But the three Muslim men did not come to pray there. They came to burn it. And by the fall, Muslims were marching around the city wearing vests reading “Sharia Police”.
There’s a thin line between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism. The name of the line is plausible deniability. Students for Justice in Palestine and the Muslim Students Association hate groups have in the past asserted that their disruption of Holocaust memorial events was anti-Zionist, not anti-Semitic.
Anti-Semitic attacks in Europe have been put down to Anti-Zionism, and not just by the Europeans.
Ambassador Howard Gutman got his posting to Belgium after raising $500,000 for Obama. There he claimed that Muslim violence against Jews wasn’t anti-Semitism, but “tension” to be blamed on Israel. Gutman, who would later be accused of pedophilia by a whistleblower, was arguing that attacks on Jews by Europeans were anti-Semitic while attacks by Muslims on Jews were anti-Zionist.
When Nazis burn a synagogue, it’s anti-Semitism. When Muslims do it, it’s anti-Zionism.
The state of the synagogue remains the same either way, but the perpetrators get off with a slap on the wrist. And the Jews are blamed for the violence carried out by Muslims against them.
While it appears historically apt for Germany to be the first country in Europe where a judge justified an attack on a synagogue, the media had already been doing it long before.
A decade ago, CNN’s Matthew Chance justified the Muslim destruction of a synagogue in Israel by describing it as “very controversial” and synagogues as “hated symbols of the Israeli occupation”. The Los Angeles Times wrote of a synagogue as a “hulking Star of David-shaped building” destroyed by Muslims venting “their fury over the occupation by laying waste to the synagogues”.
The London Telegraph lyrically described a poetic scene of synagogue burning. “The skies were yet to be lit by the rising sun when the first flames from burning synagogues could be seen, set alight by Palestinians incensed by years when the Israeli army ruthlessly defended the settlements.”
“Anti-Zionist” synagogue burnings don’t just stay in Israel. Once torching a synagogue is justified, then it can and will happen anywhere.
In 2000, four Muslim men tried to torch a New York synagogue before Yom Kippur. Like his current counterpart in Germany, Mazin Assi claimed that he had intended to “make a statement” about Israel. Assi was represented by terror lawyers Lynne Stewart, who would later be sent to jail for conspiring with the Terror Sheikh linked to the original World Trade Center bombing, and Stanley Cohen, a Hamas supporter recently sentenced to jail for tax evasion.
Stewart described her defense of a man who tried to burn a synagogue as “an underdog fighting against great odds.” It was unclear whether she meant the odds of fighting buildings or Jews.
“I want my client tried by a jury of people who understand the difference between anger and hate, a people who understand the legitimacy of fighting back,” Stanley Cohen told the Village Voice.
He accused the D.A. of courting “the synagogue or pro-Zionist lobby in the Bronx”.
The pro-Zionist lobby was now anyone who didn’t want to see synagogues burn.
The terror lawyer made the same argument that his client had not intended to “cause fire-related damage”, but to send a message. “The prosecutors keep wanting you to think this had something to do with Jews,” he claimed of the attempted synagogue arson, when it was really about Israel.
The New York Times even wondered whether the whole thing wasn’t “a misguided message critical of Israeli policies against Palestinians”. But after September 11, no jury could be found that would support the “legitimacy” of fighting back by firebombing synagogues.
Stanley claimed, “These are ugly times... I believe the jury was swept by 9/11.”
But even the most twisted arguments sooner or later find root somewhere. That was the lesson of what happened to the old Barmen synagogue on Kristallnacht and what happened now to the Muslim terrorists who threw Molotov cocktails at the Bergische Synagogue in Judge Sturm’s courtroom.
Judge George Bathurst-Norman in the UK had paved the way by clearing anti-Israel activists of an attack on a factory. But Judge Strum went one step further, ratifying a mini-Kristallnacht as a political protest.
If trying to torch a synagogue is just good clean anti-Zionism, then there is no anti-Semitism. Or rather they are the same thing. Burn a synagogue, beat a Jew and send a message about the Middle East. And the kindly judge will let you off with a little community service.
Since the left insists that Zionism is racism, anti-Semitism becomes the ultimate in anti-Racism. Beating Jews and burning synagogues is the best way to be racially tolerant. Take it from Germany.
The story is a familiar one. Hitler and Goebbels had orchestrated Kristallnacht as a “venting” of popular anger over Jewish crimes. It’s the same defense Lynne Stewart and Stanley Cohen used. Goebbels wrote, “Driving to the hotel, windows are being smashed. Bravo, bravo. The synagogues burn like big old huts.” The Nazi Minister of Propaganda sounded a good deal like CNN or the Telegraph.
Evil ideas don’t go away. They rise again under new names. Anti-Semitism is now Anti-Zionism. Synagogues become “very controversial”. Burning them isn’t a crime, it’s a statement. A message.
The new Nazis are diverse. They’re multicultural. They’re not the Reich, they’re a Caliphate. And when they burn synagogues, it’s not reactionary. Their synagogue burnings are as progressive as it gets.
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