A French Court Absolves a Man of Anti-Semitic Murder—because He Smoked Marijuana

In 2017, a Muslim man named Kobili Traoré broke into the Paris apartment of a Jewish woman named Sarah Halimi, tortured her for several hours, and then killed her by throwing her off a balcony—while police patiently waited on the street for backup to arrive. A French judge dropped the murder charges last week, ruling that Traoré was temporarily insane since he had smoked marijuana prior to committing his crimes. Annabelle Azade writes:

In Paris, where Kobili Traoré’s trial took place last week, anti-Semitism has been dramatically increasing, prompting an exodus of French Jews. Anti-Semitic incidents rose by 74 percent in one year, reaching 541 in 2018, from 311 in 2017, according to the French Interior Ministry. In July 2018 the New York Times found that, despite Jews making up less than 1 percent of the French population, “nearly 40 percent of violent acts classified as racially or religiously motivated were committed against Jews in 2017.”

On the night of the murder, [Traoré] had first broken into another family’s apartment before breaking into Halimi’s in Paris’ 11th arrondissement—reportedly the only Jewish person in her . . . apartment building. Claiming not to have recognized Halimi, Traoré told the French court: “I felt persecuted. When I saw the Torah and a chandelier in her home, I felt oppressed. I saw her face transforming.”

In addition to screaming “Allahu akbar” during his crime, Traoré was heard calling Halimi a shaitan—Arabic for Satan—before killing her. According to Halimi’s daughter, Traoré had called her a “dirty Jewess” two years before murdering her mother. Traoré had also attended the Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud mosque in Paris, a known hangout for Islamist radicals.

Yet, despite all of that evidence and the brutality of Traoré’s crime, French authorities and the French media effectively suppressed reports of the crime; . . . details of the crime that pointed to its anti-Semitic motive were initially not reported in the French press.

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Read more at Tablet

More about: Anti-Semitism, Drugs, French Jewry, Islamism

How European Fecklessness Encourages the Islamic Republic’s Assassination Campaign

In September, Cypriot police narrowly foiled a plot by an Iranian agent to murder five Jewish businessman. This was but one of roughly a dozen similar operations that Tehran has conducted in Europe since 2015—on both Israeli or Jewish and American targets—which have left three dead. Matthew Karnitschnig traces the use of assassination as a strategic tool to the very beginning of the Islamic Republic, and explains its appeal:

In the West, assassination remains a last resort (think Osama bin Laden); in authoritarian states, it’s the first (who can forget the 2017 assassination by nerve agent of Kim Jong-nam, the playboy half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un, upon his arrival in Kuala Lumpur?). For rogue states, even if the murder plots are thwarted, the regimes still win by instilling fear in their enemies’ hearts and minds. That helps explain the recent frequency. Over the course of a few months last year, Iran undertook a flurry of attacks from Latin America to Africa.

Whether such operations succeed or not, the countries behind them can be sure of one thing: they won’t be made to pay for trying. Over the years, the Russian and Iranian regimes have eliminated countless dissidents, traitors, and assorted other enemies (real and perceived) on the streets of Paris, Berlin, and even Washington, often in broad daylight. Others have been quietly abducted and sent home, where they faced sham trials and were then hanged for treason.

While there’s no shortage of criticism in the West in the wake of these crimes, there are rarely real consequences. That’s especially true in Europe, where leaders have looked the other way in the face of a variety of abuses in the hopes of reviving a deal to rein in Tehran’s nuclear-weapons program and renewing business ties.

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Read more at Politico

More about: Europe, Iran, Israeli Security, Terrorism