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US anti-Semitism envoy criticizes France’s failure to try killer of Jewish woman

Elan Carr says ‘you don’t dismiss hate crime charges for issues like the consumption of marijuana’ — referring to Sarah Halimi’s killer, who wasn’t held legally responsible

Elan Carr, the US State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, addresses the European Jewish Association's annual conference in Paris on February 24, 2020. (Courtesy)
Elan Carr, the US State Department's special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism, addresses the European Jewish Association's annual conference in Paris on February 24, 2020. (Courtesy)

PARIS (JTA) — The US special envoy to monitor and combat anti-Semitism implicitly criticized the decision in France not to try a man who killed his Jewish neighbor.

Elan Carr referenced the decision on the killer of Sarah Halimi during a conference Monday on anti-Semitism organized by the European Jewish Association in Paris.

In December, a judge decided not to try Kobili Traore for killing Halimi in 2017 while shouting about Allah.

The judge cited psychiatric evaluations saying Traore’s consumption of marijuana before the incident led to a “delirious episode” that made him not legally responsible for his actions. But the judge also said that Traore, who is in his 30s, killed Halimi because he is an anti-Semite.

The ruling provoked outrage by French Jews. Last month, President Emmanuel Macron said that “there is a need for a trial” for Traore.

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

“You don’t dismiss hate crime charges for issues like the consumption of marijuana,” Carr said, referencing his credentials as a former prosecutor in Los Angeles. “It doesn’t explain away hate crimes that need to be prosecuted to the utmost severity of the law.”

The conference, titled “Jews in Europe: United for a Better Future,” was held at the European Center for Judaism, a $17 million community center that opened in October.

Menachem Margolin, chairman of the European Jewish Association, said the building and growing engagement with Judaism by many European Jews is making him “hopeful of the future of Jews here” despite the challenges.

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