Thousands in France protest decision to not prosecute Jewish woman’s killer

Killer of Sarah Halimi not charged as court found he was in a ‘delirious episode’ after smoking marijuana

Cnaan Liphshiz is The Times of Israel's Jewish World reporter

Sarah Halimi. (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)
Sarah Halimi. (Courtesy of the Confédération des Juifs de France et des amis d'Israël)

JTA — Several thousand people, many of them Jews, rallied in several cities in France to protest a court’s ruling not to try a Muslim man who confessed to killing his Jewish neighbor while shouting about Allah.

Republique Square in Paris became crowded with protesters over the ruling last month on the fate of Kobili Traore, a 29-year-old Muslim. He brutally killed Sarah Halimi in 2017.

Reaffirming an earlier ruling, the Paris Appeals Court last month asserted that Traore killed Halimi because she was Jewish but cited psychiatric evaluations saying his consumption of marijuana before the incident gave him a “delirious episode” that made him not legally responsible for his actions.

Several thousand Jews marched in Marseille in protest of the ruling, which leaders of French Jewry, including the CRIF umbrella of French Jewish communities, have suggested was designed to avoid scrutiny of Muslim anti-Semitism.

The BNVCA, a Jewish community watchdog, says virtually all violent anti-Semitic assaults in France are cases of “new anti-Semitism” — defined as hate crimes by people whose families immigrated to France from Muslim countries.

But in its 2016 report, the French National Consultative Commission on Human Rights, a government agency, said it had no evidence that new anti-Semitism exists.

“Anti-Semitism isn’t the real taboo in France, only the identity of the anti-Semites is,” Georges Bensoussan, a Jewish historian, told Le Figaro last week about the case.

In 2017 he was tried for hate speech for quoting a Muslim writer’s assertion that Arabs receive anti-Semitism with their “mother’s milk.” Bensoussan was ultimately acquitted amid an outcry.

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