Paris 8 April 2018
Mireille Knoll slaughtered one year after Sarah Halimi
Attempts to mobilize a commemoration march on the first anniversary of the jihad torture/murder of Sarah Halimi were tragically sidestepped by the murder of another Jewish grandmother in the same 11th arrondissement of Paris. The solemn march [marche blanche] in honor of Mireille Knoll, an 85 year-old invalid, drew as many as 30,000 people. Not all of them Jewish.
Yacine Mihoub, the 29 year-old Muslim neighbor that allegedly slit madame Knoll’s throat, stabbed her repeatedly, set her body and her apartment on fire, was a welcome visitor to her modest apartment in a public housing project.
The Islamic Jew-hatred of Madame Halimi’s killer, Kobili Traoré, a violent repeat offender, was no secret. Much has been made of his consumption of marijuana leading up to the murder on the night of April 3-4 2017, overlooking the fact that friends had taken him to the radical mosque on rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud that day to “calm him down.”
For 11 months, the investigating judge refused to charge Traoré with aggravating circumstances of antisemitism, despite the evidence, the publicly expressed wishes of President Macron, the articulate concerns of intellectuals, lawmakers, and citizens, the psychiatric report (that discerned clearly antisemitic motives ), and the recommendations of the public prosecutor. Finally, she questioned the perpetrator and found to her satisfaction that the charge was justified. Though Traoré is interned in a psychiatric unit awaiting trial, he has no chance of getting off with an insanity plea.
Friday March 23rd: A heroic gendarme and a warm-hearted Jewish invalid are slaughtered
Friday morning, Reduane Lakdim, went on a killing spree in the village of Trèbes near the picturesque city of Carcassonne. The 25 year-old soldier who had pledged allegiance to Daech began the day with a carjacking; he shot the passenger dead and left the young Portuguese driver in critical condition with a bullet lodged in his head. Next he shot at a group of riot policemen who were innocently jogging, and wounded one, missing his heart by 3 cm. Then Lakdim parked the car on a supermarket lot, stormed in, gun blazing, screaming allahu akhbar, and fatally shot a butcher and a customer.
The attack that had begun at 11 AM ended at 2:30 PM when Lakdim shot and slit the throat of Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame, who had voluntarily replaced an employee used as a human shield. Lakdim was neutralized by commandos that had been waiting outside.
In Paris that evening, a few hours before shabat, Yacine Mihoub and fellow ex-con Alex Carrimbacus murdered Mihoub’s Jewish neighbor Mireille Knoll. French media—having overcome their self-imposed taboo on identifying perpetrators as Muslim and motives as antisemitic, Islamic, or insurrectional—still use the stabbing euphemism for the ritual throat-slitting that signs these crimes.
Reduane Lakdim: Security risk under surveillance
Lakdim was no stranger to French authorities. Born in Morocco, naturalized at the same time as his father in 2004, flagged as a security risk in 2014, convicted of crimes in 2011 and 2015, he served a month in prison for illegal arms possession, use of drugs, and refusal to obey an officer. He was scheduled for an interview with internal security services on the 21st of April. Lakdim was known to be an avid follower of Salafist websites and association with “radicalized” individuals. None of this prevented newscasters from parroting the ridiculous refrain: “nothing led security services to believe he would commit a terrorist attack.” The same could be said for the 20,000 flagged security risks currently under “surveillance.” Until they go on a killing spree, how is anyone supposed to know they will take the next step? It’s not as if the services are asleep at the switch. Dozens of attacks have been prevented. Even if all 20,000 flagged risks were placed in preventive detention, as a majority of French citizens demand, there would still be thousands of undetected jihadis on the loose.
Arnaud Beltrame, hero of the résistance
It is close to impossible to grasp, from the public record, the time span of the supermarket occupation. Why did it last more than three hours when the hostages had apparently escaped in the first hour? Compared to the close quarters of the Hyper Cacher grocery store attack in 2015, the fifty customers surprised by Lakdim’s violent intrusion into the Super U supermarket had more leeway for escape. Dozens were led to safety by an employee, a retired policeman. Others had slipped into a cold storage room that luckily had a door leading outside.
A squadron of gendarmes arrived rapidly on the scene, ran upstairs to the security room, and followed the action on CCTV screens. They decided to intervene. Lakdim was holding an employee as a human shield. Lieutenant Colonel Arnaud Beltrame put down his arm and negotiated an exchange. The last hostage was released. The other gendarmes left. Perhaps this was the deal? They waited outside, joined shortly afterwards by commandos.
How long did the two face off? The gendarme, known for his bravery and physical prowess; the jihadi, armed with a knife and a handgun. Journalists and TV cameras were massed on the perimeter. There was talk of negotiations. What was their strategy? Was there no way to trick the killer? Stun grenades? Sleeping gas? Robots?
Hours went by until, alerted by the sound of gunfire, commandos moved in and quickly neutralized Lakdim. Arnaud Beltrame was still alive. He died that night. The sorely needed hero of the new résistance was deservingly honored in elegant French ceremonial style in the courtyard of Les Invalides. Portraits of Beltrame were proudly displayed everywhere. With his handsome face and straight posture in the impeccable uniform, he is the personification of the backbone that has been sorely lacking in these years of repeated atrocities. Finally, a figure of military authority replaced the pathetic rituals of flowers, candles, and childish peace & love messages.
Admiration for the national hero often veered into symbols of martyrdom and comparisons with Christ who gave his life to save humanity. The notion that the highest honor is to sacrifice one’s life to save another human being is understandable in a country with Catholic roots but somewhat disabling as a model for résistance against jihad. Lieutenant Colonel Beltrame’s mother emphatically rejects any notion of sacrifice. Her son, she declares without hesitation, did not step in to sacrifice himself. He was sure that he would keep the upper hand. He was intelligent, fearless, and strong. He loved life. He never would have imagined that it could end that way.
Mireille Knoll escaped French gendarmes in 1942
Seventy-eight years after narrowly escaping the Rafle du Vel d’hiv — the July 16, 1942 roundup of Jews in Paris — Mireille Knoll was exterminated by garden variety Islamic anti-Semitism. Saved by their mother’s Brazilian passport, she and her brother were able to go with her to Portugal. Only 100 of the Jews arrested by French gendarmes and sent from the Vel d’hiv to the death camps survived.
Mireille Knoll, whose husband, an Auschwitz survivor, died in 2000, suffered from severe Parkinson’s disease. She had known Yacine Mihoub since he was seven years old. He did not have to break down the door of her apartment, decorated with red heart appliqués, because she welcomed him with open arms. Even after he served several months in prison for sexually assaulting the 12-year-old daughter of her live-in care giver. Who has since left. Contrary to earlier, erroneous reports, it is the caregiver and not madame Knoll who had reported Mihoub to the police. And Mihoub had not threatened to set fire to madame Knoll but to his mother’s apartment on the seventh floor of the building.
Mireille Knoll knew her exterminator, and was not wary. Sarah Halimi, an M.D. who had devoted her life to running day care centers for Jewish children, knew she lived in a hostile environment. Her daughters who were settled in Israel urged her to join them. Mireille Knoll was a cosmopolitan urbane woman who loved the arts and the Parisian way of life. Her son’s ex-wife, who made Aliyah some twenty years ago, describes her as brilliant and refined. She spoke four languages and had faultless taste in literature, theater, film, and restaurants.
Mireille Knoll was the personification of the “vivre ensemble,” the theoretical solution to current strife. In fact, it was her uncritical embrace of the Other that left her defenseless against a deep-seated genocidal hatred that was not clearly visible to her refined, cultured, humanistic family.
Published excerpts of the initial police investigation reveal that Yacine Mihoub was in the victim’s apartment drinking port wine that morning when the wife of her son Daniel visited, and still later when her son Allan dropped in. Uncomfortable with the man’s presence, he waited until a caregiver arrived before leaving.
After having lunch with his mother, Mihoub went back to Mireille Knoll’s apartment and invited Carrimbacus to join him. Unsurprisingly each of the suspects claims the other was responsible for the murder. Carrimbacus, nicknamed the Marseillais, says Mihoub had mentioned that Knoll was Jewish and shouted allahu akhbar when he slit her throat. The suspects took a few objects, set fire to madame Knoll and four other points of the apartment, opened the gas burners and slipped out without noticing that the main gas line was shut.
The solemn march
A year ago, hundreds of Jews marched in silence to honor the slain Sarah Halimi. When they reached the building where she had lived, they were confronted by Muslim youths boasting that they would use their Kalashnikovs to massacre Jews. This year, tens of thousands marched in the name of Mireille Knoll, but media coverage turned sour, obsessed by the heavy-handed expulsion of the delegations of Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon, persona non grata in the words of Francis Kalifat, the president of the CRIF that had organized the march with broad support from political leaders and civil society.
TV cameras that had covered the dignified ceremony in honor of Arnaud Beltrame aux Invalides, and captured a pinch of the quiet presence of President Macron at the funeral of Mireille Knoll, were glued like piglets at a sow’s tit to the scuffles around Marine Le Pen and Jean-Luc Mélenchon. During continuous TV coverage of the march, journalists, guests, and members of the Knoll family blamed the faux pas on the CRIF. No one should have been excluded; everyone deserved a share in the indignation against antisemitism that savagely murdered an elderly Jewish woman in Paris in 2018.
Commentators of all stripes, many of them supremely informed on the subject of murderous Jew hatred in France, vented against the “politicized, clumsy, counter-productive, non-representative, shameful” CRIF. They scolded a misguided CRIF, obsessed with a 1930s vision of antisemitism, and stupidly cozy with members of Islamist groups hiding behind claims of Islamophobia. Anger at the CRIF — in other circumstances used as a code word for the Elders of Zion — superseded outrage against the assassin. Mélenchon and Le Pen rose to the place of the victim, obscuring Mireille Knoll. A handful of Jewish Defense Leaguers were placed in the balance against the hundreds of thousands of Muslim Jew-haters, to satisfy the symmetry of “all religions have their extremists.”
In the aftermath, astute thinkers have come forward in defense of the CRIF and set the record straight: Kalifat did not ban the Le Pen’s Front National and Mélenchon’s France Insoumise; he said they would not be welcome. Which, they argue, would have been true even if he had said nothing.
Be that as it may, Marine Le Pen is politically finished and her party has withered on the vine. Anti-jihad activists unfamiliar with French politics have clung to the illusion that she’s the One the only One that will save France from Islamization. On the contrary, she counts for next to nothing and awareness is rising elsewhere. As for our Bolivarian tinpot Mélenchon, he has provided a new heap of grist for the anti-Zionist mill, with his latest diatribe against the outrageous cruelty of Israeli soldiers against peaceful demonstrators in Gaza.
Anti-Semitism defines itself
The challenge is not to define antisemitism in such a way that it can be detected by a thermometer but to recognize the genocidal Islamic revenge against Jews that runs the range from insults to atrocities, from harassing Jewish children out of the public schools to assassinating Jewish grandmothers with bestial cruelty. It couldn’t be prevented in the case of Kobili Traoré, it wasn’t detected in the heart of Yacine Mihoub, no one knows how deeply it is buried and who will suddenly explode in murderous rage.
On March 23rd, in France, a Jewish invalid and a brave gendarme were victims of this genocidal hatred that destroys from within and spreads desolation across the land.
In the context of dawning awareness, the murder of Sébastien Selam, first reported here is finally being counted as the first in the 21st century series of Jews in France killed for being Jewish. At the time, and consistently thereafter, I stood with the few who recognized the Islamic nature of the crime. The CRIF ignored the pleas of the Selam family to defend the truth. Colleagues warned me not to label the crime anti-Semitic. It was, they said, 1/3 madness 1/3 jealousy and 1/3 antisemitism. The killer Adel Amaistibou was tucked away in a psychiatric hospital, allowed to come and go, released, and never tried in criminal court. Though he slit Sébastien Selam’s throat and gouged his eyes, though he boasted “I killed my Jew, I’ll go to heaven,” the particular nature of the crime was almost unanimously denied or ignored.
Public discourse is changing
Press reports from Gaza’s March of Return are as twisted as usual, studiously ignoring essential facts and clearly declared intentions, but they do not resonate. No one is particularly interested in the Palestinians. The Gaza spectacle is barely covered in print media or on TV. Solidarity demonstrations are a thing of the past. There are no talk shows soaked in handwringing over cruel Israeli disproportionate force, no human interest stories, no interviews with spokesmen from one side or the other so far…
Inching forward with agonizing slowness, backsliding with exasperating repetition, public discourse and policy in France are gradually approaching reality. There will be no turning back. After campaigning behind a multicultural screen decorated with a sociological explanation for Islamic violence in France, President Macron is toughening conditions for asylum, immigration, and terrorism. In an indication of public opinion, a recent poll showed 83% believe that dual national security risks should be deported. When a gendarme is slaughtered in the morning and a Jewish woman is slaughtered and burned in the evening, no one is invited to the popular all-news channels to explain that “it has nothing to do with Islam.”
Feeble means in the face of all-out emergency? Yes.
But it is a mistake to dismiss this evolution. Because it bears seeds of the defense of civilization. They should be nourished everywhere.
10 April: The mother of Yacine Mihoub has been questioned and charged with destroying evidence of a crime. Identified as Zouhlika K., she is suspected of washing the blood off the knife used to slaughter and stab Mireille Knoll.
If this charge is verified and sustained, the implications of implicit complicity are enormous. We are reminded that Adel Amaistibou, covered in the blood of Sébastien Selam, went directly to the family apartment and told his mother, “I killed my Jew. I’ll go to paradise.” The knife he used to slit his victim’s throat, nearly decapitating him, came from his mother’s kitchen.
Le Parisien reports that GIGN commandos took ten minutes to move in after Lieutenant Colonel Beltrame called for the intervention, shouting “Attack, Attack.” By the time they entered the supermarket, the gendarme’s throat was slit and he had several non-fatal gunshot wounds. The ten-minute delay is reportedly explained by the need to verify whether there were explosives planted on the site. In the hours leading up to the final assault, services of the gendarmerie conducted negotiations with Raduane Lakdim, hoping to convince him to surrender. They brought his mother and sister to the site. To no avail.