French Jewish group ties car ramming near Paris to their complaint about hate crime


(JTA) — French Jewish leaders seized on a suspected terrorist attack against police officers to again criticize authorities for not labeling the murder of a Jewish woman as a hate crime.

On Wednesday, the CRIF umbrella group of French Jews posted a sarcastic statement on Facebook about the car-ramming Wednesday morning in the Paris suburb of Levallois-Perret. Six police officers were injured in the attack, two of them seriously and the rest moderately.  The suspect fled.

The CRIF post asks whether authorities would place the suspect under psychiatric evaluation, as they did the Muslim man charged in the slaying of a Jewish woman, Sarah Halimi, in April.

“What do you think, should this insane person be put in a psych ward while we contemplate the reasons for his actions?” CRIF posted in French.

It was a provocative reference to the handling by authorities and the media of the slaying of Halimi. Many in the Jewish community were outraged that her killer, Kobili Traore, wasn’t charged with a hate crime, and was instead sent for observation following his insanity plea even though he has no record of mental illness. According to witnesses, Traore shouted about Allah while killing Halimi, his neighbor, and previously called her daughter a “dirty Jewess.”

CRIF has campaigned vigorously for the hate crime charge, calling its omission a “cover up” of the anti-Semitic character of the crime, CRIF President Francis Kalifat has said.

Mainstream French media began covering the controversy surrounding Halimi’s killing more than two months after it happened.

Referring to the Levallois-Perret attack, Mayor Patrick Balkany told French radio the incident appears to be a “deliberate attack” and that French security forces are conducting a massive manhunt for the suspect.

Recommended from JTA