by Hugh Fitzgerald
The eldest son of Mireille Knoll, the Holocaust survivor who was savagely murdered during an antisemitic assault in her Paris apartment, has castigated France’s judiciary for its alleged indifference to violence against Jews, in an emotional speech he delivered in Paris on September 13.. His story is here.
Allan Knoll — whose mother, Mireille Knoll, was stabbed eleven times and then set on fire in March 2018 by two intruders who believed that because she was Jewish,, she would be hiding large amounts of cash — addressed a small rally on Sunday in the Place de la Republique in Paris.
The demonstration was organized by “The Group Against Silence,” a collective of activists that is campaigning for justice in the case of Sarah Halimi — a 65-year-old Jewish widow who was slain in her Paris apartment by an antisemitic assailant eleven months before Mireille Knoll suffered a similar fate.
But while Knoll’s accused killers will face trial, the individual charged with Halimi’s murder — 29-year-old Kobili Traore — was excused from a criminal trial last December after a court in Paris deemed that his ingestion of cannabis on the night of the killing had rendered him temporarily insane.
Apparently, he had a very small amount of cannabis in his system, not enough to be “rendered temporarily insane” as the judge nonetheless ruled..His defense lawyers made It sound as if he had gone off his rocker, when Traore was merely experiencing a gentle high. He was only behaving toward this Jewish lady as one would expect someone deeply attentive to the antisemitic Qur’anic verses would do. Nonetheless, the judge – no doubt unaware of those antisemitic verses, and the 1,400 history of Muslims behaving murderously toward Jews — bought the defense lawyers’ argument.
Allan Knoll told the rally that he was in attendance in memory of his own mother, as well as Sarah Halimi and the four Jewish victims of the January 2015 terrorist attack on a kosher supermarket in eastern Paris.
“The way that the judicial system has treated the Jewish community is unconscionable,” he stated. “The decision reached by the judge [in the Halimi case] was shameful.”
Continued Knoll: “The fact that someone takes a small amount of drugs doesn’t mean he loses possession of his faculties. The murder of Sarah Halimi was a deliberate act and it cannot go unpunished.”
Kobili Traore was not out of his mind when he attacked, beat to death 65-year-old Sarah Halimi, and threw her body out the window, while he yelled “Allahu akbar.” He had been taught, by dozens of Qur’anic verses, to hate Jews; other verses instructed him to fight, to kill, to smite at the necks of, to strike terror in the hearts of, Infidels, including Jews. Unaware of what the Qur’an commands, or what is contained in the Hadith on the subject of Jews, the French judge could not believe that Traore could have been in his right mind and do what he did — although thousands of Muslim terrorists have done exactly the same kinds of things against Infidels recently. Did the judge forget about the Islamic State? He concluded that Traore must have been in a psychotic state brought on by ingesting a small amount of cannabis, and should not be criminally punished, but instead receive treatment in a mental health facility. And after that, he will be perfectly free to live and do as he likes.
That means the killer of Sarah Halimi will never be punished. Is it any wonder that ever since that verdict was handed down in December 2019, French Jews have been declaring their deep unhappiness with French justice?
The failure to punish Sarah Halimi’s murderer is one of several cases where the killers of Jews have received mild sentences, or no punishment at all. Of the 27 people who took part in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of 23-year-old Ilan Halimi (no relation to Sarah), only one – ringleader Yousouf Fofana – received a life sentence.
Knoll argued that a reopening of the case would “serve to vindicate Sarah Halimi and all the Jewish victims that have been attacked and killed over the years.”
Knoll charged that the French judiciary “was bowing like a servant” before alleged murderers like Traore.
“There is no political justification for this,” he declared. “Until you [the French judiciary] get off your knees, France will stay on its knees.”…
This was an oblique echo of what Stephane Charbonnier, the brave editor of Charlie Hebdo murdered on January 7, 2015, had said: “Je préfère mourir debout que vivre à genoux.” (“I prefer to die standing than to live on my knees.”) For Allan Knoll, the French judges who let killers of Jews off with absurdly light sentences, or no punishment at all, are still “on their knees.”
Mireille Knoll, an 85-year-old Holocaust survivor suffering from Parkinson’s, knew her killer, Yacine Matoub, a neighbor whom she had known since he was a child. When Matoub carried out his carefully-planned attack — with an accomplice, Alex Carrimbacus — he did so because he assumed she, “a Jew,” had plenty of money. Both the robbery and murder were premeditated: Knoll had to be killed, because she had known Matoub – had befriended her young neighbor for years– and could easily identify him.
The question Allan Knoll must be asking is why it has taken the French justice system more than two years to finally bring his mother’s killers to trial? And he must be anxious about the ultimate result. After all, the murderer of Sarah Halimi got off scot-free, required only to receive some mental health treatment. Why shouldn’t his mother’s killers be treated the same?
And what of the punishments given to the 27 people who were responsible for the kidnapping, torture, and killing of Ilan Halimi (no relation to Sarah Halimi)? Of the 27, as we noted above, only one — one! — received a life sentence. As for the others, all but four were given sentences shorter than what the prosecution demanded. Twenty of them received less than ten years – for having participated in the kidnapping, torture, and murder of Ilan Halimi. What do you think would have happened if the victim had been a Muslim young man, kidnapped, tortured over three weeks, and murdered by a gang of Christians and Jews? You know the answer. Life sentences for all of them.
The French failure to punish Sarah Halimi’s killer at all, the failure to punish adequately those who murdered Ilan Halimi, take place in an atmosphere of ever-increasing antisemitic attacks.
Gravestones in Jewish cemeteries have been painted with swastikas and tipped over, portraits of the late Holocaust survivor and former Minister of Health Simone Veil defaced, “Juden” painted on the windows of Parisian bakeries and other stores around the country. Jews wearing kippahs have been subject to verbal and physical abuse, Jewish property vandalized or stolen. Even a tree planted in memory of Ilan Halimi was cut down.
A prominent French philosopher, Alain Finkielkraut, was verbally attacked and physically threatened for being Jewish as he walked past a “gilets jaunes” (yellow-vest) protest in Paris. Meanwhile, the antisemitic “comedian” M’bala M’bala Dieudonne has had a high old time entertaining audiences with his antisemitic wit and wisdom, and his heil-hitlering salute – his right hand stretched out to make what he calls the “quenelle” – has been widely copied by his moronic fans. Recently, however, he has had more of his appearances cancelled by the authorities for his fomenting of race-hatred.
Most disturbing are what French Jews now say openly: They are angry and scared. Scared about the sharp rise in antisemitic attacks. and angry at what they see as an inadequate response by the French state – the police, the judiciary, the political leaders.
A common fear among French Jews is that of wearing identifying clothing in public. As one Jewish shopkeeper put it: “If, for example, while I was sitting and eating in my store and I heard someone enter, I automatically took off my kippah,” he said, adding that neither he nor his children went out in public wearing Jewish symbols for fear of being attacked.
Antisemitic attacks have been steadily on the rise in France. In 2017, there were 311 such attacks. In 2018, there were 547, an increase of 74%. In 2019, 687, another increase of 27%. These are only the ones that are reported. How many French Jews want to avoid possible further trouble, and choose not to report that a Muslim neighbor has harassed them, or boys on the street pushed them down and called them “sales Juifs”?
What might the French state do? It could increase pari passu with the rise in antisemitic attacks the visible police presence in Jewish neighborhoods, and outside Jewish schools and synagogues. CCTV cameras should be placed in Jewish cemeteries. The French state needs to ratchet up its monitoring of mosques and the sermons of imams for antisemitic (and anti-Christian) content, and force offenders to resign their positions as being “dangerous to the state.” It would be most helpful if undercover police, of both sexes, dressed visibly as Jews (kippah, Star of David necklace, even the full Orthodox outfit for some), working in teams, could stroll through the city in neighborhoods where they might attract antisemitic bullies who will then get the surprise of their lives, as they attack and in turn are violently suppressed and carted away in black marias. If word gets around, from Mohammad to Muhammed or from Mahmoud to Ahmed, that you can no longer be sure who is a likely victim, easily overcome, and who turns out to be a member of what the French call, soothingly, “the forces of order,” this could help change the behavior of those who take pleasure in harassing and beating up Jews. “War is deceit,” said Muhammad; war must be made unceasingly on antisemites, no quarter must be shown.