The treatment of Jewish people around the world is now making the news almost daily. It is obvious that antisemitism is running rampant. The question has changed over the last two decades. First, it was, “What will we do if it happens again?”, then it became, “What will we do when it happens again?” Now we have to ask the question “What are we doing now that it is here?”
Yet, the majority of the world is still in denial or willful ignorance about the crisis of antisemitism that is plaguing us all.
We can have a propensity to measure the danger of a conflict taking place in the world by its proximity to where we live. If a war raging across the planet is far enough, then we don’t have to worry about it and chances are, it won’t disturb our lives too much. This sounds very selfish, but deep down, most people don’t really feel affected. To some degree, antisemitism can be viewed through a similar set of filters.
People who live in areas where there a very few Jewish people or in some cases none, do not feel that concerned. “Sure, it looks bad in Brooklyn, Paris or Israel…But that’s not my problem, I don’t live there…” some will think.
Antisemitism is a war, but a non-conventional one. If it was somewhat geographically contained during the Second World War, it no longer is today. In December 2019, a series of attacks against orthodox Jews took place in Brooklyn. We still remember the terrorist attacks at the synagogues in San Diego and Pittsburgh. This is real, this is global and this happening almost on a daily basis. But the recent tragedy that we should pay attention to took place in Paris, and it could create a terrifying precedent.
On April 4, 2017, in Paris, Sarah Halimi, a 66-year-old Jewish woman, was thrown from her third-floor window. Her body landed on the pavement. It remains uncertain if she was thrown alive or already dead from being tortured. What the police found out was that the perpetrator was Kobili Traoré, her Muslim neighbor, who screamed “Allahu Akbar” and “I have killed Satan” as he recited verses from the Qur’an that according to him ordered him to kill Jews. That is such a tragedy, and yet it is only part of the story.
Kobili Traoré was found under the influence of marijuana and was placed in a mental institution. The whole incident took place during a presidential election year in France–not a good time to make public the murder of a Jew by a Muslim. It took months for the family of Mrs. Halimi to get the French authorities to admit that it was indeed a murder and that it was an antisemitic hate crime.
That is another tragedy because if it had been a person from any other ethnic group thrown out of a window after being tortured, nobody would have questioned the nature of the crime.
The court eventually declared that Traoré had indeed murdered Sarah Halimi willingly, but because he was under the influence of marijuana, he was irresponsible and couldn’t be prosecuted. The whole thing was thrown out of court and Mr. Traoré was ordered to go into rehab.
One of the lawyers for the Halimi family, Francis Szpiner, declared: “Sarah Halimi jurisprudence” has been created: “anyone who suffers from a delusional puff because of the use of illicit and dangerous substances will be exempt from criminal responsibility”, and that is the real danger. I am terrified at the idea that someone can smoke a joint or get drunk, go on a killing rampage to get a few Jews, and then plead intoxication, walk free, go to rehab for 30 days, and plan their next murder. In essence, this is exactly what precedent this case is making.
No punishment for killing Jews is truly making it “open season” on the Jewish people wherever they are not wanted–which is just about anywhere but Israel. Journalist Céline Pina of French paper Le Figaro wrote: “When one kills in the name of Allah, the excuse of mental imbalance does not hold.
If there is one thing in common in all of this blood that keeps flowing, it is the implantation of Islamists on our soil, their network of mosques, their propaganda through books, satellite dishes, their speeches which permeate many districts and territories, their shows of strength…. the situation is not under control.”
She is right, and I believe that the situation is spinning further out of control. We are approaching–if we are not already there–the time when “Righteous Gentiles” will have to step up to the plate and help their Jewish friends. It is very serious. Christians are coming to an important crossroads. This is eerily reminiscent of what Yeshua said in Matthew 25:40: “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
While this is an event that is contextually taking place during the Great Tribulation and after the Rapture, the principle remains. The world is desperately in need of a new generation of “Righteous Among the Nations.”
Olivier J. Melnick is the National Director of Training, Chosen People Ministries (US) and Vice-President, Berger D’Israël (France).