On January 13, 2017, a German regional court ruled that a lower court had been correct to find no anti-Semitism in the attempt by a group of Muslim men to burn down a synagogue in the city of Wuppertal.
The failed firebombing attack had occurred in 2014, during the Israeli conflict with Hamas in Gaza. In 2015 the lower court found that the men had intended their actions as a protest against Israel—with the result that the adults in the group deserved to have their sentences suspended, freeing them from jail time. And now, after review by a superior court, the German legal system has affirmed that German synagogues are legitimate targets of protest against Israel.
Remember this moment, for the German courts have exposed the mechanism by which opposition to Israel proves indistinguishable from opposition to Jews. (...)
To see the logic at play, suppose that three white men had attacked a traditionally black church in Birmingham, Alabama, scrawling graffiti and trying to set the church on fire. Caught and convicted, they were sentenced to a year in jail—with the jail time suspended. Yes, the judge explained, they had been unlawfully violent and thus deserved to be convicted. But he suspended their sentences because their purpose in attacking the African-American church had not been to harm Americans but to protest the failure of the Nigerian government to halt the kidnapping of schoolgirls by the radical African militia Boko Haram. (...)
Black citizens of the United States are never taken as symbolic representatives of African governments. For that matter, imagine the outcry if a judge condoned violence against the places of worship of native citizens who happened to be Muslim—because a distant government was doing something objectionable. (...)
What the German courts have revealed, however, is not so much the psychology as the logic by which anti-Semitism has returned to the West. A strong case can be made that modern anti-Zionism was always a subterfuge, born from an anti-Semitism trying to disguise itself. But now even the need to wear that mask seems gone. The German Muslims who attacked the Wuppertal synagogue in 2014 took Germany's Jews as representatives of Israel, and in 2017 the German courts agreed, simply as a matter of law.
Think about that for a moment. Once non-Israeli Jews have been legally recognized as symbols of Israel, not even a ray of daylight can slip between opposition to Israel and opposition to Jews. (...)
Once and for all, anti-Zionism equals anti-Semitism. German courts have told us so.read more