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

 

With Talk of Annexation, Benny Gantz Sends a Message to the U.S.

Jan. 24 2020

On Tuesday, the former IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who is campaigning for a third time to oust Benjamin Netanyahu from the Israeli premiership, announced that if elected he will seek to annex the Jordan Valley. He added the important caveat that he wants to do so “in coordination with the international community”—a promise that, as many have pointed out, is nearly impossible to fulfill. While it is easy to speculate about the political calculations behind this pledge, Jonathan Tobin suggests that it is also intended as a message to American liberals:

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More about: Benny Gantz, Democrats, Israeli Election 2020, Jordan Valley, U.S. Politics