German court convicts brothers for brutal assault on Jewish man at pro-Israel demonstration.
A German court on Wednesday sentenced two minors for a brutal assault on a Jewish man during a pro-Israel vigil in the city of Hamburg last year.
The court heard how in Sept. 2021, the two brothers, aged 17 and 15, approached a small demonstration displaying signs in support of Israel and warning against rising antisemitism. Accompanied by a female friend, the brothers shouted “f**k Israel” and “Free Palestine” and insulted the vigil participants.
The brothers then assaulted a 61-year-old man who was attending the demonstration, leaving him with broken cheekbones and an eye that was damaged when his glasses were smashed. The perpetrators then fled the scene on rented scooters as police officers mounted a search for them.
“I’m practically blind, I can only see light and dark in my right eye,” the victim told the news outlet Welt on Wednesday.
Both the brothers were charged with antisemitic incitement, while the 17-year-old also faced a charge of grievous bodily harm. The older brother was deemed by the court to have shown a “general derogatory attitude towards Israel, people from Israel and people who show solidarity with Israel.”
Neither brother will serve a custodial sentence, however. The 17-year-old received a sixteen-month suspended sentence that will require him to perform community service and undergo anti-violence training, while his younger sibling will also perform community service.
Stefan Hensel, the antisemitism commissioner for Hamburg, welcomed the verdict. “This is a is a clear sign to all antisemitic violent criminals that their actions will not remain without consequences,” he said.
Figures published by the German interior ministry in February showed a 30 percent increase in antisemitic crimes in 2021, with more than 3,000 incidents recorded. Incidents involving violence also rose as a proportion of the total, with the police registering 63 violent assaults in 2021 — six more than in the previous year.
Nearly half of the incidents occurred in the second quarter of last year, during the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Gaza Strip which witnessed antisemitic violence accompanying “Free Palestine” demonstrations around the world.
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