In the early hours of April 4, an African Muslim drug dealer/lowlife named Kobili Traore broke into the Paris apartment of a 66-year-old Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, and proceeded to assault her. As he viciously beat Halimi, he cried out, “Allah hu akbar.” He then threw Halimi to her death from her third-storey balcony.
The horrific details of Halimi’s murder, which took place during the hotly-contested election campaign in France, were provided by a neighbor who witnessed the unprovoked and shocking attack.
Traore, who reportedly has no history of mental illness, was placed under psychiatric evaluation after claiming he was insane. Prosecutors, charging him with voluntary manslaughter in their draft indictment, made no mention of the fact that he had committed a hate crime, a glaring omission.
Years before Traore killed Halimi in cold blood, he had called her daughter “a dirty Jewess,” she told the authorities. But strangely enough, this telling revelation had no effect on the prosecution’s bizarre decision to ignore his visceral animosity toward Jews.
Their blinkered attitude, plus the silence of the French media in this case, is very odd, considering what has been going on in France. In the past few years, Muslim extremists have gone on a rampage, having murdered more than 100 people in a series of attacks throughout the country.
Lest it be forgotten, Jews have been deliberately singled out in several of these assaults. In January 2015, Amedy Coulibali killed four Jewish shoppers at a kosher supermarket in Paris before being fatally shot by police. In 2012, Mohammed Merah killed three children at a Jewish school in Toulouse. He admitted he had been motivated by antisemitic animus.
In 2006, Ilan Halimi, a Jewish telephone salesman from Paris, was kidnapped and killed by a gang of Muslim thugs. The police ignored the blatantly anti-Jewish nature of the crime before belatedly acknowledging it.
History seems to be repeating itself in the Sarah Halimi case, with the prosecutors seemingly bent on treating Traore, the perpetrator, as a mentally ill rather than as an antisemitic killer.
Outraged by their obtuse attitude, 17 leading French intellectuals, including the historian Georges Bensoussan and the philosopher Alain Finkielkraut, wrote an open letter to French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb in the newspaper Le Figaro demanding that the truth “be brought to light in the murder of Sarah Halimi.” They added, “Everything about this crime suggests there is an ongoing denial of reality” by the authorities.
One of the signers, the historian and philosopher Alexandra Laignel-Lavastine, believes the authorities are motivated by a desire not to offend the large Muslim minority in France. This may well be true. Shmuel Trigano, a researcher who has studied antisemitism in France, contends that the French government is loathe to call a spade a spade. According to Trigano, former French President Jacques Chirac suppressed the antisemitic aspects of some 500 attacks from 2000 to 2002, when antisemitism was on the rise in France.
France has a duty and an obligation to face what may be inconvenient truths about the disturbing connection between Muslim radicalism and antisemitism. These truths, which have manifested themselves repeatedly in recent years, cannot be wished away as if they do not exist.