In 2017, a Parisian named Kobili Traoré tortured and then murdered the Jewish retiree Sarah Halimi while shouting various Islamic and anti-Semitic declarations. The police botched their response; for months the authorities refrained from acknowledging the anti-Semitic nature of the crime; and two years later a court excused Traoré on the grounds that he was under the influence of marijuana when he carried out the attack. Adam Milstein examines this all-too-typical approach to the rise in anti-Jewish violence in France in light of the recent riots:
The late Rabbi Jonathan Sacks famously said, “Anti-Semitism isn’t a threat just for Jews; it’s a threat first and foremost to Europe and the freedoms it took centuries to achieve.” The recent social breakdown in France provides yet another example of an age-old historical truth: untreated anti-Semitism is both a catalyst and warning sign of a broader sickness in society.
Anti-Semitic violence has proliferated in French society, often going unpunished by the judicial system, unaddressed by the political establishment, and unabated by the public. Hate crimes, muggings, terrorism, and intimidation have targeted the small Jewish community. Seventy-four percent of French Jews were victims of anti-Semitic acts during their lifetimes. . . . Although Jews represent less than 1 percent of the French population, 40 percent of all violent hate crimes in France are anti-Semitic.
Due to “political correctness” France has not done nearly enough to combat anti-Semitism. And as in many Western nations, France’s anti-Semitism is not confined to one political camp. It comes mostly from a growing, hostile Muslim population, but also from the far left and the far right. The appeasement of vicious anti-Semitism in France, as Jews have been killed in high-profile terror attacks and hate crimes, has allowed the seeds of social unrest to fester.