A prominent Jewish group has criticized a court in western Germany for concluding that two men who firebombed a synagogue weren't anti-Semitic.

Wuppertal's district court on Thursday found the unnamed men of Palestinian origin guilty of attempted serious arson for throwing a molotov cocktail at a synagogue in July, causing 800 euros ($920) damage.

The unnamed defendants were handed a suspended sentence of one year and three months in prison. Together with a third, juvenile defendant, they were ordered to perform 200 hours of community work.

Court spokeswoman Carmen Schlosser said the adult defendants had claimed they wanted to draw attention to the conflict in Gaza and had apologized for their actions.

But the American Jewish Committee Berlin said Friday the Wuppertal court's ruling effectively whitewashed anti-Semitic acts.