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

Understanding the Background of the White House Ruling on Anti-Semitism and the Civil Rights Act

Dec. 13 2019

On Wednesday, the president signed an executive order allowing federal officials to extend the protections of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act to Jews. (The order, promptly condemned for classifying Jews as a separate nationality, did nothing of the sort.) In 2010, Kenneth Marcus called for precisely such a ruling in the pages of Commentary, citing in particular the Department of Education’s lax response to a series of incidents at the University of California at Irvine, where, among much elase, Jewish property was vandalized and Jewish students were pelted with rocks, called “dirty Jew” and other epithets, and were told, “Jewish students are the plague of mankind.”

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More about: Anti-Semitism, Israel on campus, U.S. Politics