The French Legal System Tries to Blame Sarah Halimi’s Murder on Marijuana Rather Than Anti-Semitism

March 28 2019

On April 4, 2017, Kobili Traore, a Mali-born Parisian, broke into the apartment of his neighbor, a sixty-five-year-old Jewish widow named Sarah Halimi, and brutally murdered her. During the attack he yelled “Allahu Akbar” and “Satan”; on previous occasions he had shouted anti-Semitic slurs at Halimi and her relatives. A French court is now evaluating a psychiatric report—commissioned by the investigating judge in the case—according to which Traore was so intoxicated from cannabis that he can’t be held criminally responsible. Ben Cohen comments:

There is, of course, a well-documented connection between the use of cannabis and episodes of psychotic violence, but these examples invariably involve users with preexisting mental-health conditions. No one has indicated that Traore suffers from schizophrenia or a related condition; the argument being entertained by the investigating judge, therefore, rests on the claim that cannabis use alone robbed Traore of his “discernment.” . . .

The second and third psychiatrists who assessed Traore believe this to be true; the first psychiatrist, Daniel Zagury, manifestly did not, and had no doubt that the killer’s mind was sound enough for him to stand trial for murder aggravated by anti-Semitic prejudice toward his victim. . . .

There should be no mistaking . . . that a final decision that goes against putting Traore on trial, opting instead for some kind of medical supervision instead, will be an irremovable stain on France’s reputation, . . . denying basic justice to the victim of a hate crime that was sickening even by current French standards of anti-Semitism and racism. It means that France, as a nation, will be denied a further opportunity to learn how anti-Semitic beliefs can transition into anti-Semitic violence—since previous and subsequent episodes in recent memory, such as the kidnapping and murder of Ilan Halimi (no relation) in 2006, or the terrorist shooting of three small children and a teacher at a Jewish school in Toulouse in 2012, or the murder of eighty-five-year-old Holocaust survivor Mireille Knoll exactly one year ago, have seemingly failed to teach the French public that lesson.

You have 2 free articles left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at JNS

More about: Anti-Semitism, Drugs, France, French Jewry, Politics & Current Affairs, Radical Islam

What Egypt’s Withdrawal from the “Arab NATO” Signifies for U.S. Strategy

A few weeks ago, Egypt quietly announced its withdrawal from the Middle East Strategic Alliance (MESA), a coalition—which also includes Jordan, the Gulf states, and the U.S.—founded at President Trump’s urging to serve as an “Arab NATO” that could work to contain Iran. Jonathan Ariel notes three major factors that most likely contributed to Egyptian President Sisi’s abandonment of MESA: his distrust of Donald Trump (and concern that Trump might lose the 2020 election) and of Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman; Cairo’s perception that Iran does not pose a major threat to its security; and the current situation in Gaza:

Gaza . . . is ruled by Hamas, defined by its covenant as “one of the wings of the Muslim Brotherhood in Palestine.” Sisi has ruthlessly persecuted the Brotherhood in Egypt. [But] Egypt, despite its dependence on Saudi largesse, has continued to maintain its ties with Qatar, which is under Saudi blockade over its unwillingness to toe the Saudi line regarding Iran. . . . Qatar is also supportive of the Muslim Brotherhood, . . . and of course Hamas.

[Qatar’s ruler] Sheikh Tamim is one of the key “go-to guys” when the situation in Gaza gets out of hand. Qatar has provided the cash that keeps Hamas solvent, and therefore at least somewhat restrained. . . . In return, Hamas listens to Qatar, which does not want it to help the Islamic State-affiliated factions involved in an armed insurrection against Egyptian forces in northern Sinai. Egypt’s military is having a hard enough time coping with the insurgency as it is. The last thing it needs is for Hamas to be given a green light to cooperate with Islamic State forces in Sinai. . . .

Over the past decade, ever since Benjamin Netanyahu returned to power, Israel has also been gradually placing more and more chips in its still covert but growing alliance with Saudi Arabia. Egypt’s decision to pull out of MESA should give it cause to reconsider. Without Egypt, MESA has zero viability unless it is to include either U.S. forces or Israeli ones. [But] one’s chances of winning the lottery seem infinitely higher than those of MESA’s including the IDF. . . . Given that Egypt, the Arab world’s biggest and militarily most powerful state and its traditional leader, has clearly indicated its lack of confidence in the Saudi leadership, Israel should urgently reexamine its strategy in this regard.

You have 1 free article left this month

Sign up now for unlimited access

Subscribe Now

Already have an account? Log in now

Read more at BESA Center

More about: Egypt, Gaza Strip, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, U.S. Foreign policy