A building can be the target of a hate crime, not just a person, or so ruled an appelate court in the case of man who threw Molotov Cocktails at a Bronx synagogue on the eve of Yom Kippur. Thirty-year-old Palestinian-American Mazin Assi is currently serving 5 to 15 for the crime he committed in 2000, with three other men. His lawyer said he should have been convicted only of attempted arson, but a judge decided the stricter charges apply. "It is self-evident that, although the target of the defendant's criminal conduct was a building, the true victims were the individuals of Jewish faith who were members of the synagogue,'' Judge Victoria Graffeo wrote in a ruling that "broadens the hate crimes act," according to the New York Law Journal.

Assi—a bodega employee at the time—was convicted of throwing bombs that he'd made out of vodka bottles at the glass entryway of Conservative congregation Adath Israel's synagogue, though they failed to catch fire. He told police that the act was statement to stop Middle East violence after a Palestinian child was shot by Israeli fighter, reports the AP. "Rich Jews in Riverdale send money over there [the Middle East] and they buy guns and they are killing people," was the justification he offered. Recently a man rammed his Toyota into a Queens synagogue, though that was supposedly an accident.