Part 2, Update: 5 April
French Presidential Campaign Part 2 UPDATE
5 April 2017
I drop in to the Shir Hadash Bookstore on rue des Rosiers at the end of the day. Madame Magnichever comes in, pale and troubled, and whispers to me: “A dear friend… we’ve known her for 40 years…she was assassinated… an Islamist pushed her out the window.”
Reports of the incident came out first in Jewish media, then it was picked up by a few two generalist sites: A Jewish woman in her mid-sixties was pushed out of a third (in U.S. 4th)-floor window by a 27 year-old Muslim neighbor who, according to some accounts, had recently become radicalized. He had frequent run-ins with the police for violence and “petty” crime. According to testimony of a neighbor who witnessed the crime, the assailant who shouted allahu akhbar as he pushed the victim out the window. He is in police custody, undergoing psychiatric examination. Police sources say he made “incoherent statements” (we’ve heard that before).
Detail will follow in Part 3 of the ongoing series.
Part 3: 22 April
Murder in Belleville
Further information has emerged about the anti-Semitic murder of Sarah Lucie Halimi since I gave the horrible news in an update to French Presidential Campaign Part 2. Kada Traoré, the 27 year-old African Muslim neighbor that broke into her apartment, beat her, and pushed her out the 3rd floor (= 4th) window, had been harassing the victim and her daughter for years, calling them dirty Jews. They were afraid of him. Traoré lived with his parents on the 2nd floor. The building is managed by Paris Habitat, a municipal housing administration. Did madame Halimi complain about the aggressive neighbor? If she had, would anything have been done about it? We are reminded of the savage jihad murder of Sébastien Selam in November 2003- ambushed, slaughtered and mutilated by his Muslim neighbor Adel Amaistibou, The murderer has never been punished for his crime. He spent a few years in a mental institution, often released on furloughs during which he stayed with his family that was still living in the same building as the victim’s mother, Juliette Selam, because they had turned down all offers from municipal housing authorities.
As many as 1200 people participated in a commemorative march in Belleville for Sarah Halimi. According to reports in Jewish media, Sarah Halimi was an M.D. and director of the daycare center at the Lubavitcher school on rue Pavée in the Marais. MP Meyer Habib says he personally informed François Fillon and members of his campaign organization; they had heard nothing about the murder. It didn’t strike the collective conscience. I don’t know if other candidates were aware of the incident. A few days later a 52 year-old American woman was stabbed to death as she was taking pictures of a famous graffiti wall in Montreuil. We know nothing more about her identity. The killer has been described as a homeless man.
Emmanuel Macron is an enthusiast for urban engineering. He says residents of the banlieue- a majority are Muslims from north or sub-Saharan Africa- should not be assigné à residence [under house arrest]. He means they shouldn’t be confined to ethnic neighborhoods. In fact, Jewish refugees from the Maghreb lived in relative peace with Muslim Maghrebis in those banlieues until recent decades when violent Jew hatred spread in Muslim circles. Jews who could afford to move deserted those neighborhoods en masse. And so did non-Muslim French people fleeing crime, drug dealers, caïds, vandals, Salafists, and halal butcher shops. The Front National spoke up for those refugees when other political parties were carefully ignoring the problem or blaming the victims.
Part 6: 3 May
The 2nd round campaign has been frantic and incoherent. To cast light on the dark origins of the Front National, Emmanuel Macron did a round of commemorations of “horrors that must never be repeated”: the Armenian Genocide, the Nazi atrocity at Oradour sur Glane, the Deportation, the Shoah, and the 1995 drowning of Brahim Bouarram pushed into the Seine by skinheads during a Front National Mayday parade. Marine Le Pen decried her rival’s exploitation of the dead.
And what about contemporary atrocities? To her credit, Marine Le Pen did mention the murder of Sarah Halimi, but neither candidate has made an issue of the contemporary form of anti-Jewish persecution. MP Meyer Habib is following the case, in close contact with the victim’s brother William Attal and with the interior minister. At Habib’s suggestion the family has retained Maître Gilles William Goldnadel, lawyer, columnist, and president of the France-Israel association. Further Details of the vicious jihad murder have emerged: Sarah Halimi was subject to “torture and barbaric supplications” before being pushed out the window by Kada Traoré. Inexplicably, the police, called to the address because Traoré was on the rampage, waited downstairs until commando reinforcements arrived. Too late.
Close to a thousand people participated in the march in tribute to Sarah Halimi. They had not yet reached her building when some of the organizers stopped the march and asked them to leave their flowers. The participants refused. When they reached the site, they saw (visibly Muslim) neighbors on their balconies cursing and throwing projectiles at them. A bit further, local “youths” threatened them. “We know what to do with you, Jews. We have kalachs.” An eyewitness tells me that mature family men joined the younger Jews and chased the aggressors away.
Courageous political leaders, including Manuel Valls and François Fillon, have identified antizionism as the modern form of antisemitism. Times of Israel unearthed a basket of comments by Marine’s running mate Dupont-Aignan: in 2014 he defended a French parliamentary motion for unilateral recognition of the Palestinian state, condemned Israel’s “disproportionate” reactions and “unacceptable” collateral damage to civilians during the Protective Edge operation, called the land operation an “invasion,” slammed France’s failure to “rein in” Israel. He described the conflict as a duel between two hawkish camps led respectively by Netanyahu and Hamas. Nothing better can be expected of Emmanuel Macron on this score.