A German Court Rules a Synagogue-Burning “Criticism of Israel”

March 16 2017

Two years ago, three German men of Palestinian descent threw Molotov cocktails at a synagogue. In a ruling recently upheld by a higher court, the three were declared guilty of the attack but were not convicted of committing a hate crime since—in the courts’ logic—they had been engaged in a political protest against Israel’s policies. Abraham Cooper and Yitzchok Adlerstein write:

The German courts’ decisions will further fuel the anti-Semitism engulfing Europe. Jews are specifically warned not to wear kippot or other Jewish symbols in many European capitals. Holocaust survivors in Malmo, Sweden—where, ironically, they settled after escaping the Nazis—are fearful of walking to synagogue on the Sabbath because the anti-Israel political establishment won’t protect them or their rabbi from anti-Semitic threats. Armed guards are stationed in front of synagogues throughout the continent—yet, according to the president of the Conference of European Rabbis, Jews do not feel safe inside their own houses of worship.

The German court decision fits the pattern of European officials and the media who find it [safer] to attribute attacks against Jewish citizens to hooliganism, to anger at Israel, or to the plight of unemployed youth [than] to anti-Semitism. . . . [This verdict] has created a new tool for those who seek to deny or to do nothing about the world’s oldest hatred: simply dismissing it as political protest. That allows the guilty to go unpunished, removes the urgency for law-enforcement to act, and soothes the consciences of the apathetic.

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Read more at Times of Israel

More about: Anti-Semitism, European Jewry, German Jewry, Germany, Jewish World

Hamas’s Deadly Escalation at the Gaza Border

Oct. 16 2018

Hamas’s weekly demonstration at the fence separating Gaza from Israel turned bloody last Friday, as operatives used explosives to blow a hole in the barrier and attempted to pass through. The IDF opened fire, killing three and scaring away the rest. Yoni Ben Menachem notes that the demonstrators’ tactics have been growing more aggressive and violent in recent weeks, and the violence is no longer limited to Fridays but is occurring around the clock:

The number of participants in the demonstrations has risen to 20,000. Extensive use has been made of lethal tactics such as throwing explosive charges and grenades at IDF soldiers, and there has been an increase in the launching of incendiary balloons and kites into Israel. At the same time, Hamas supplemented its burning tires with smoke generators at the border to create heavy smoke screens to shield Gazan rioters and allow them to get closer to the border fence and infiltrate into Israel. . . .

[S]ix months of ineffective demonstrations have not achieved anything connected with easing [Israel’s blockade of the Strip]. Therefore, Hamas has decided to increase military pressure on Israel. [Its] ultimate goal has not changed: the complete removal of the embargo; until this is achieved, the violent demonstrations at the border fence will continue.

Hamas’s overall objective is to take the IDF by surprise by blowing up the fence at several points and infiltrating into Israeli territory to harm IDF soldiers or abduct them and take them into the Gaza Strip. . . . The precedent of the 2011 deal in which one Israeli soldier was traded for 1,027 Palestinian prisoners has strengthened the feeling within Hamas that Israel is prepared to pay a heavy price for bringing back captured soldiers alive. . . . Hamas also believes that the campaign is strengthening its position in Palestinian society and is getting the international community to understand that the Palestinian problem is still alive. . . .

The Hamas leadership is not interested in an all-out military confrontation with Israel. The Gaza street is strongly opposed to this, and the Hamas leadership understands that a new war with Israel will result in substantial damage to the organization. Therefore, the idea is to continue with the “Return March” campaign, which will not cost the organization too much and will maintain its rule without paying too high a price for terror.

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Read more at Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs

More about: Gaza Strip, Hamas, Israel & Zionism, Israeli Security