French anti-Semitism flourishes as tree honoring murdered Jew cut down

France is far from finished with anti-Semitism. The latest outrage involves the destruction of a tree honoring a murdered Jew.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

Vandals chopped down a tree near Paris planted in honor of Ilan Halimi, a French-born Jew who was kidnapped and tortured to death in 2006 by a Muslim gang, Agence France-Presse reported Monday.

The felled tree was discovered on Monday by French municipal workers who were preparing for an annual memorial ceremony this week. Another tree was found partially sawn through.

Halimi was a 23-year-old cellphone salesman who was lured to the gang by a woman working with them. They targeted him because he was Jewish and they believed his family could afford a large ransom. They demanded 450,000 Euros from Halimi’s family, which they couldn’t pay. Halimi was tortured, including being burned, while held captive for nearly a month.

A photo of Ilan Halimi held by his mother, Feb. 23, 2006. (AP/Benoit Tessier)

Eventually the gang dumped Halimi, naked and handcuffed, in a suburb south of Paris. He had burns over 80 percent of his body and died not long after being discovered.

The tree vandalism is just the latest in a series of anti-Semitic incidents in France.

On Monday, swastikas were discovered sprayed on postal boxes containing the likeness of Simone Veil, a former French justice minister. As a teenager, she was deported to Auschwitz. A widely respected figure, upon her death in 2017 she was buried in the Pantheon, one of only five women granted that honor.

Christian Guemy, the artist who painted the postal boxes, which are in the city’s 13th district, tweeted on Monday, “”Shame on the despicable person that disfigured my tribute to Simeon Veil, Holocaust survivor.”

Mayor of the district, Jerome Coumet, said “Sullying Simone Veil means sullying all of us and each of us must react to the foul beast.”

On Saturday, Paris police discovered the word “Juden!” (German for “Jews”) sprayed with yellow paint on a bagel shop.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, tweeted a photograph of the graffiti, saying: “An anti-semitic tag in the heart of Paris… as if the most tragic lessons of history no longer illuminate [our] consciences.”


During the Nazi boycott of Jewish businesses which began on April 1, 1933, the Nazis painted and posted signs with similar messages to identify Jewish-owned businesses.

Anti-Semitic graffiti was also reported in other districts.

Anti-Semitic acts rose in France by by 74 percent last year, Interior Minister Castaner said, from 311 in 2017 to 541 in 2018. “Anti-Semitism is spreading like poison,” he said.

Yesterday, Castaner tweeted a video of himself planting a tree, saying: “Here we will plant even bigger trees, even more beautiful. In Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, in memory of Ilan Halimi.”