1) (From United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. "The Holocaust." Holocaust Encyclopedia.)
A five-judge panel chaired by Georg Neithardt presided over the trial of Hitler and the other putsch leaders in March 1924. Like the majority of judges during the Weimar period, Neithardt tended, in cases of high treason, to show leniency towards right-wing defendants who claimed to have acted out of sincere, patriotic motives. Wearing his Iron Cross, awarded for bravery during World War I, Hitler took advantage of the judge's indulgence to pontificate against the Weimar Republic. He claimed the federal government in Berlin had betrayed Germany by signing the Versailles Treaty, and justified his actions by suggesting that there was a clear and imminent communist threat to Germany. Although the judges convicted Hitler on the charge of high treason, they gave him the lightest allowable sentence of five years in a minimum security prison at Landsberg am Lech. He served only eight months. A group of activists who broke into an arms factory near Brighton last year and caused damage costing around £180,000 ($275,000) were found not guilty last week of causing criminal damage.
In a lawsuit filed in October, seven British activists claimed they were legally justified to break in and sabotage the factory of EDO MBM Technology near Brighton, on the south coast of England, in January 2009, at the time of Operation Cast Lead.
Believing that the company was violating export license regulations and sending arms components to Israel, the activists, from a group called Smash EDO, said they wanted to "slow down" the manufacture of components that were allegedly being sold to the Jewish state.
The protesters threw computers and file cabinets out of the factory windows and smashed machinery using hammers, claiming they were seeking to prevent "Israeli war crimes in Gaza."
The seven admitted breaking in and causing the damage but were acquitted when the jury found them not guilty of conspiring to cause criminal damage, despite video-taped interviews of the activists that outlined their intention to cause criminal damage and "smash up" the factory.
The activists used the "lawful excuse" defense - committing an offense to prevent what they say was a more serious crime because EDO was "complicit in war crimes."
Judge George Bathurst-Norman told the jury: "You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time."
So what is the resemblance? The anti-semitism of the perpetrators? The British vandals (including the Jew among them) would deny it. (They're only anti-Zionist, see.) In the first place, it is the judges, Neithardt and Bathurst-Norman, who thought that political motives they approve of justify law-breaking -- treason in one case and serious property destruction in the other. In the second place, it is the societies which now smile on lynch law.
So is it a coincidence that both cases involve "legal excuse" for Jew-haters? Maybe not. There's something about Jews yesterday and Israel today which make their enemies obsessive, make them believe that everything, including the laws that protect their lives and property, can be sacrificed just for the sake of that obsession. But the obsession about Jews is once more causing free people heedlessly to sacrifice their own rights, freedoms and protections.
Fred Baumann is Professor of Political Science, Kenyon College.(Affiliation for purposes of identification only.)