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Published in The Times of Israel
3 April 2021

Mr. Gerard Darmanin, Interior Minister of France,

The Simon Wiesenthal Centre and its friends are aghast at the growing pandemic of stabbings, in the United States and France, globally spread on social media.

A copycat phenomenon, featured, only last week, from the Capitol in Washington DC and Central Park, New York... to the heavily Jewish Sarcelles suburb of Paris.

The Washington attack seems to be politically motivated.

In Central Park, the video shows the grisly antisemitic knifing of a Jewish family – clearly identifiable as such by their garb – wounding the husband, wife and baby.

In Sarcelles, three kippa-wearing schoolboys were attacked by a knife-wielding Pakistani, who illegally entered France from Spain. They were saved by a balcony witness shouting a warning and alerting the police, who arrived immediately on the scene.

Mr. Minister, such cases in the United States and other democracies result in swift detention and arrest, followed by a court arraignment and judicial measures. If recognized as a hate crime, the judgment, in French terminology, “aggravates” (harshens) the penalty.

In France, it is apparent however, that judges continue to regard native-born or migrant Islamists, as victims of racism rather than perpetrators. Thus the revolving-door judgment – with kid-gloves or arguments claiming irresponsibility of perpetrators for their actions, if under the influence of narcotics, alcohol or depression – is becoming standard, as in the Sarcelles case.

Moreover, incitement online or family school and mosque radicalization, or suppliers of the drugs and alcohol, are not sufficiently addressed. Nor is expulsion of foreign perpetrators to their point of entry or their native countries a solution, in view of cases of returnees to Europe under false identities, after recruitment and training in ideological terrorism.

Mr. Minister, detention and arrest, especially for hate crimes, must lead to arraignment resulting in a sentence.

Otherwise, inevitably, the number of antisemitic attacks and targeting other victims of hate will spiral.

Most respectfully,

Dr. Shimon Samuels