Photo Credit: Campaign Against Antisemitism (CAA)
Actress Dame Maureen Lipman addresses rally for justice for Dr. Sarah Halimi, z"l

The British Jewish community held a demonstration outside the Embassy of France in London on Sunday, joining a day of global protests against anti-Semitism by Jewish communities worldwide.

The events follow a decision by France’s highest court to spare an anti-Semitic murderer from trial because he was high on cannabis at the time that he committed his crime.

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Registration for the COVID-compliant rally filled up within 24 hours of the Campaign Against Antisemitism announcement of the protest, as the Jewish community in Britain mobilized to protest the treatment of France’s Jews.

Rallies are being held in cities across France, Israel and the United States on Sunday.

France Betrays Its Pledge
Speaking at the rally, actress Dame Maureen Lipman said that “a Gallic knee is on the necks of French Jews and French Jews cannot breathe.”

Campaign Against Antisemitism Chief Executive, Gideon Falter, said, “During the Holocaust, French authorities were too often complicit in the genocide of French Jews. After the war, the nation vowed to defend what remained of its Jewish population.

“The decision of France’s highest court that torturing and throwing an elderly Jewish woman out of a window cannot be ascribed to anti-Semitic motivations if the attacker is high, is a betrayal of that pledge.

“For decades, French Jews have suffered anti-Semitic abuse, violence and terrorism. Antisemitism in France is out of control, with incidents rising 121% since 2017, and Jews, who comprise 1% of France’s population, bearing the brunt of 41% of hate crimes.

“It is intolerable that a leading European nation is so abjectly failing to stop the persecution of its Jewish population.”

Murder of Dr. Sarah Halimi
On 4th April 2017, Sarah Halimi, a 65-year-old retired doctor and schoolteacher, found a man in her Paris apartment. It was her neighbour Kobili Traoré, who had subjected her to years of anti-Semitic abuse. He savagely beat her, shouting “Allahu akhbar” and then hurled her from her window to her death, shouting “I killed the shaitan [demon]”.

For months, French authorities refused to admit the anti-Semitic nature of his crime. Sarah Halimi’s murderer, a violent drug dealer, claimed that he had felt “possessed” because he was high on cannabis and should not be held responsible.

Last week, France’s highest court agreed with him. Sarah Halimi’s family is now considering an appeal to the European Court of Human Rights and action in Israeli courts.

“In France today, it is possible to be sentenced to a year in prison for throwing a dog from a window while high on cocaine, but if you hurl a Jew to their death while on cannabis, you walk free,” the CAA said.

For years, France has gradually betrayed its Jews by allowing antisemitism to run rampant, putting French Jews in fear, the CAA added.

Key incidents in France
2000s: Firebombing of synagogues, regular violent attacks on Jews start
2003: Sebastien Selam tortured and murdered
2006: Ilan Halimi tortured for three weeks and murdered
2012: Gun attack on Jewish school in Toulouse, killing rabbi and children aged 3, 5 and 7
2015: Gun attack on kosher supermarket as part of Charlie Hebdo attack, killing four
2017: Dr Sarah Halimi, 65, tortured, beaten and hurled from a window of her home
2018: Mireille Knoll, 85, stabbed and burned alive in her home

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.
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