By Bari Weiss, Aish—
This essay was originally published on journalist Bari Weiss’ Substack. Please subscribe and support her important work.
In a normal world, everyone would know the name Sarah Halimi.
It’s understandable if you don’t. The press didn’t obsessively cover her murder the way they cover other hate crimes – for reasons I will explain.
Sarah Halimi was a retired French physician and schoolteacher. She was also an Orthodox Jew. On April 4, 2017, Halimi was in her Paris apartment where she lived alone. In the middle of the night, a 27-year-old Muslim man of Malian origin named Kobili Traoré, who lived in the building, broke into her apartment. Traoré tortured Ms. Halimi, who was in her 60s, beating her and kicking her. According to neighbors, who called the police after hearing Halimi’s cries, Traoré called her a “shaitan” (satan) and a dirty Jew. Ultimately, he threw Ms. Halimi’s battered body out of her third-story apartment window shouting “Allahu akbar.”
There are other gruesome details, but that is the basic story. It’s hard to imagine a set of facts more damning and more clear.
So in December 2019, when I read that French prosecutors had decided to drop murder charges against Traoré, a man with nearly two dozen prior convictions, on the grounds that he had smoked pot, I felt sick.
It spurred me to write a column called “Inconvenient Murders” about the case – and about the moral calamity sweeping the West of which this was only the clearest (and at the time most recent) example.
Here’s the relevant bit:
We are suffering from a widespread social health epidemic and it is rooted in the cheapening of Jewish blood. If hatred of Jews can be justified as a misunderstanding or ignored as a mistake or played down as a slip of the tongue or waved away as “just anti-Zionism,” you can all but guarantee it will be.
The column offered a round-up of various attacks against Jews in the great cities of Europe and North America – places like London, Brooklyn, Montreal and Washington, D.C. – and noted the strange silence on the part of those who claim to care deeply about justice, silence from those who can detect the most subtle microaggression.
It is hard to read that list now, knowing how many tragic stories, how many names, have been added in the years since the column was published. In the past few years, it feels like we have gone from antisemitism of horse-and-buggy velocity to something more like a bullet train.
The speed has changed. But the pattern remains exactly the same. As I wrote then:
There is a theme here. The theme is that Jew-hatred is surging and yet Jewish victimhood does not command attention or inspire popular outrage. That unless Jews are murdered by neo-Nazis, the one group everyone of conscience recognizes as evil, Jews’ inconvenient murders, their beatings, their discrimination, the singling out of their state for demonization will be explained away.
The rule of thumb, as the British writer and comedian David Baddiel has noted in his new book, is that Jews Don’t Count. But there is a more sophisticated version of this bloody arithmetic. Continue Reading….