April 26, 2021
About 150 protestors, including many French residents, gathered at the Los Angeles French Consulate on Sunday to protest the French Supreme Court’s decision that the killer of Dr. Sarah Halimi will not be held criminally responsible because he was under the influence of cannabis.
On April 4, 2017, Halimi, a 65-year-old French Jewish physician, was attacked in her Paris home by Kobili Traoré, a 27-year-old neighbor and reported drug dealer. According to court testimony, Traoré beat her while screaming “Allahu Akhbar” while reciting verses from the Quran. He then threw her out of her third floor window to her death.
The Los Angeles rally, one of nine held across the world, was organized by the National Bureau of Watchfulness Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCAO). Speakers included Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean and Director of the Global Social Action Agenda for the Simon Wiesenthal Center, Roz Rothstein, co-founder and CEO of Stand With Us, David Suissa, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Journal and local Frank activist Francky Perez, U.S. representative of BNVCAO.
Similar rallies were held in Miami, Paris, Marseille, Tel Aviv, London, Strasbourg, the Hague and Rome. The Paris rally drew an estimated 250,000 people.
At the rally, Perez noted legal options that remain in the case. “The European Court of Human Rights can condemn France, but it will leave us unsatisfied because it will only be symbolic. What we want is for the murderer to be tried and condemned by what we call in France ‘Court d’assise’, a jury trial. So there may still be the possibility of a review trial if the lawsuit is filed on a different motive.”
“We are furious and at the same time deeply hurt and very concerned that anti-Semitism continues to rise to dangerous and deadly levels in France,” Rothstein said as she led in the crowd in a chant, ‘I am angry!’ President Macron says the law has to change. Ok. Words are great, but words are cheap without action.”
“WE ARE FURIOUS AND AT THE SAME TIME DEEPLY HURT AND VERY
CONCERNED THAT ANTI-SEMITISM CONTINUES TO RISE TO
DANGEROUS AND DEADLY LEVELS IN FRANCE.”
– ROZ ROTHSTEIN
Rabbi Cooper said, “We mourn our sister Sarah, whose soul was murdered a second time by French judges, who snatched justice from her by setting her murderer free because he smoked pot. We declare in front of French territory here in Los Angeles, no Justice for French Jewry, no peace for French Jewry, no future for France.”
L.A. resident Irwin Ruben, a 75-year-old psychiatrist who attended the rally, said, “I’ve been following situation for several years and I am angry. I want to do something. Pot does not make you psychotic. It just makes you high. This ruling is crazy.”
Angelique Bohbot, 43, who is French and a U.S. citizen, said: “I am here as a French Jewish woman. I am very mad. I am not happy to be French right now. I am here to support Sarah.”
At the time of publication, Traoré remains in a French psychiatric hospital.
Read the article here.