“Under Starmer it has been two steps forward and one step back,” said Mr. Fielding, “and he hasn’t addressed the problem of how you win back the red wall without losing metropolitan liberal voters.”

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Rights Group Hits Israel With Explosive Charge: Apartheid

Mr. Regev added: “To allege that Israeli policies are motivated by racism is both baseless and outrageous, and belittles the very real security threats posed by Palestinian terrorists to Israeli civilians — whose fundamental human rights to live in freedom and security are callously ignored by H.R.W.”

Israel’s ambassador to the United States, Gilad Erdan, said the report bordered on anti-Semitism.

“When the authors of the report cynically and falsely use the term apartheid, they nullify the legal and social status of millions of Israeli citizens, including Arab citizens, who are an integral part of the state of Israel,” he said.

Human Rights Watch does not draw a direct comparison with the notorious South African regime that segregated and subjugated people according to their skin color. Instead, it cites international laws that define apartheid as a crime against humanity in which one racial group dominates another through intentional, systematic and inhumane acts of oppression. And it contends that the word race as used in those laws applies broadly to ethnic groups.

While Human Rights Watch argues that these policies persist, to varying degrees, across the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and within the state of Israel itself, it points to the occupied West Bank as exhibit A. There, the group says, Israel has created a two-tier system with some Palestinians living under military rule and Israeli settlers under a civil legal system with greater freedoms, an inequity that H.R.W. said “amounts to the systematic oppression required for apartheid.”

Israel fully governs over 60 percent of the West Bank, and uses checkpoints and a permit system to regulate Palestinian movement between areas of nominal Palestinian self-rule and to Israel. H.R.W. also cites “the forcible transfer of thousands of Palestinians out of their homes, denial of residency rights to hundreds of thousands of Palestinians and their relatives, and the suspension of basic civil rights to millions of Palestinians” as policies that meet the definition of apartheid.

“These policies, which grant Jewish Israelis the same rights and privileges wherever they live and discriminate against Palestinians to varying degrees wherever they live, reflect a policy to privilege one people at the expense of another,” Mr. Roth said.

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France Seeks Change in Law After Outrage Over Verdict in Anti-Semitic Killing

PARIS — The French government plans to introduce a bill aimed at closing a legal loophole that allowed the man who killed a Jewish woman in an anti-Semitic frenzy in 2017 to escape trial because a court found that he was in a delirious state brought on by cannabis.

Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti said Sunday that the bill would be presented in time for a vote by Parliament this summer and fill the “juridical void” that currently makes it impossible to “take account of the voluntary intake of toxic substances” leading to delirium in the commission of crimes.

France’s highest court ruled earlier this month that Kobili Traoré, who beat the woman, Sarah Halimi, before throwing her out the window of her Paris apartment to her death, could not be tried because he had no “discernment or control” over his acts. It upheld a verdict by a lower court to the effect that under current French law the origin of Traoré’s disturbed condition — intake of drugs — was immaterial.

The verdict set off a storm of protest from French and international Jewish groups. It also led to a large demonstration by French Jews in Paris on Sunday, and smaller ones in other cities, including Lyon and Marseille.

President Emmanuel Macron expressed his dissent with the ruling, unusual in a judicial matter, saying in an interview with Le Figaro that, “Deciding to take drugs and then ‘becoming mad’ should not in my eyes remove your criminal responsibility.”

The highest court, known as the Court of Cassation, recognized the anti-Semitic nature of the crime — “a frenzied anti-Semitic act,” according to the report of one psychiatrist — but said in effect that its hands were tied by the law. Mr. Traoré has admitted the killing and is in a psychiatric institution.

More than 20,000 people joined the protest in Paris on Sunday, according to the Interior Ministry, holding banners that said, “Killed because she was Jewish” and “Victim of a judicial shipwreck.” Before the demonstration, a top French judicial council expressed concern, calling for respect of the independence of the judiciary and a measured tone in discussion of the case.

The demonstration was attended by Anne Hidalgo, the Socialist mayor of Paris, who has said a street in the capital would be named after Ms. Halimi, who was 65. Other prominent attendees included Xavier Bertrand, a center-right candidate in the presidential election next year, and Bernard-Henri Lévy, the author and philosopher who has been active in denouncing rising anti-Semitism in France. Several speakers called for the new law, if enacted, to be called the “Sarah Halimi law.”

In a long interview with the magazine Marianne, Paul Bensussan, one of the psychiatrists asked to examine Mr. Traoré, tried to explain his rationale for finding him unfit for trial.

Mr. Traoré, he said, was hallucinating well before the murder itself, engaging in long soliloquies, responding to imaginary voices and consulting an exorcist. The level of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, found in his body was low to moderate, leading him and other psychiatrists to conclude that the drug “was a cofactor not the cause” in the assailant’s “blast of delirium.”

The sight of a menorah, and the fact Ms. Halimi was Jewish, “were the spark,” said Mr. Bensussan, who is Jewish. “The crime was that of a madman, but his crime was anti-Semitic because in his delirium he equated Jews with the devil. Public indignation and that of the Jewish community are, I believe, related to the false idea that recognizing insanity and the lack of penal responsibility mean denying the anti-Semitic dimension of the act.”

The intricacies of this argument appear to have done nothing to calm anger in France’s large Jewish community.

Mr. Macron, in his interview in Le Figaro, said that he wanted the justice minister to present a bill to change the law “as soon as possible.” Mr. Dupond-Moretti has now done that.

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Quebec’s Ban on Public Religious Symbols Largely Upheld

MONTREAL — A Quebec court on Tuesday largely upheld a law barring public sector employees such as schoolteachers, police officers, and judges from wearing religious symbols while at work, in a ruling that human rights advocates said would undermine civil liberties in the province.

But the ruling also made some big exceptions that dissatisfied the provincial government. Both sides said they intended to appeal.

Religious minorities across the province said the decision marginalizes them. While the ban is supported by a majority of Quebecers, it has nevertheless proved deeply polarizing in Quebec society where minority lawyers and teachers, among others, say it has derailed their lives and careers, while fomenting Islamophobia and anti-Semitism.

“The law destroyed my career dreams,” said Noor Farhat, a lawyer who wears a head scarf and aspired to be a public prosecutor. She represented a large Quebec teachers’ union that is one of the plaintiffs in the case. “It is a clear violation of freedom of religion and the government is limiting human rights,” she said.

François Legault, the right-leaning Quebec premier, has said that the law is necessary to ensure that the separation between religion and state is respected in Quebec, a province where secularism holds sway. The law, adopted in June 2019, applies to Muslim head scarves, Jewish skullcaps, Sikh turbans and Catholic crosses, among other symbols.

Lawyers for the Quebec government argued that the law did not impinge on minority rights since people could practice their religion at home. Supporters of the law also argued that it is a force for liberal values, including respect for women and gay people, by preventing religious orthodoxy from encroaching on public life.

But human rights advocates and legal scholars counter that the law breaches the Canadian constitutional right to freedom of religion, while undermining social equality and denying minorities access to jobs in vital fields such as education and law enforcement. They also criticize the law as running counter to Canada’s vaunted model of multiculturalism.

“It will drive religious minorities away rather than bringing them into society,” said Robert Leckey, dean of McGill University’s faculty of law in Montreal and a leading constitutional lawyer. “An inclusive society is surely one where schoolteachers are allowed to look like the kids they are teaching.”

In a 240-page ruling, Justice Marc-André Blanchard of the Quebec Superior Court in Montreal said the Quebec government had the right to restrict the religious symbols worn by public sector employees including teachers, police officers, lawyers and prison guards, while they were at work.

Supreme Court. Simon Jolin-Barrette, Quebec’s minister of justice, also said Quebec planned to appeal the ruling, saying that the exemptions carved out in the court’s decision threatened to effectively create two Quebecs and that the law should apply to all Quebecers.

A legal challenge to the law in the courts has proved difficult because to insulate it from potential court action, the government invoked a rarely used constitutional loophole known as the “notwithstanding clause,” which empowers Canadian legislatures to override some constitutional rights like freedom of religion or expression.

The clause was added to Canada’s 1982 constitution to appease some provinces, which were resistant to including a charter of rights as part of the document.

Ms. Farhat said the law had disproportionately affected visible minorities like Muslim women who wore outwardly conspicuous religious symbols like head scarves. A Catholic cross was less conspicuous since it could be concealed in a blouse or a shirt while at work.

Quebec is hardly alone in imposing such a law. In 2004 France banned religious symbols such as Muslim head scarves at state schools. In May 2018, Denmark banned face veils in public, igniting criticism that the law discriminated against Muslim women.

Identity and religion are sensitive issues in Quebec, a Francophone province surrounded by English-majority Canada. In the 1960s, Quebec underwent a social rebellion known as the Quiet Revolution during which Quebecers revolted against the Roman Catholic Church, which had dominated daily life in the province for decades. The result, sociologists say, is that outward expressions of religious orthodoxy have long been viewed with suspicion.

Julius Grey, a leading Canadian human rights lawyer who has argued frequently before the Supreme Court of Canada, said the decision could potentially open the way for other provinces to defy safeguards of the Canadian constitution by weaponizing the notwithstanding clause.

After the law was passed in June 2019, protests erupted across the province, with some local mayors and school boards in Montreal saying they would refuse to enforce it. The Quebec government passed an amendment appointing inspectors to ensure it was obeyed.

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Highest French Court Rules Killer of Jewish Woman Cannot Stand Trial

PARIS — The highest court in France has ruled that the man who killed a Jewish woman in 2017 in an anti-Semitic frenzy cannot stand trial because he was in a state of acute mental delirium brought on by his consumption of cannabis.

Kobili Traoré, who has admitted to the killing and is in a psychiatric institution, beat Sarah Halimi, 65, before throwing her out the window of her Paris apartment to cries of “Allahu akbar,” or God is great, and “I killed the devil.”

Mr. Traoré, who was 27 at the time, had been troubled by Ms. Halimi’s mezuza, which “amplified the frantic outburst of hate,” according to one psychiatric report.

The verdict, more than four years after the killing, ended judicial proceedings in France for the case. The verdict came after a lower-court ruling rejected a trial, and the Halimi family appealed. President Emmanuel Macron made an unusual personal intervention by calling for the case to have its day in court. Outrage in the large French Jewish community has accompanied the long failure to try Mr. Traoré.

Mireille Knoll was stabbed to death in her Paris apartment in what the prosecutor’s office called a killing tied to the “victim’s membership, real or supposed, of a particular religion.” In this case, the nature of the killing — a hate crime — was quickly recognized.

French Jews have been repeatedly targeted by jihadists over the past decade. In 2012, an Islamist gunman, Mohammed Merah, shot dead three children and a teacher at a Jewish school in the southern city of Toulouse. In 2015, Amedy Coulibaly identified customers as Jews at a kosher Paris supermarket before killing four of them. He declared he was murdering the people he hated most in the world: “the Jews and the French.”

Mr. Macron, sensitive to anger in the Jewish community at lone-wolf explanations of the violence, and at hesitation in some French media to use the words “anti-Semitic” in describing the crimes, said in January last year that the Halimi case “needs a trial.” He was widely rebuked for failing to respect the independence of the justice system.

Criticism has mounted over the law that has allowed Mr. Traoré to avoid trial. “It is possible to consider that the current law is unsatisfactory,” said Sandrine Zientara, one of the public prosecutors in the case. “Its application has led here to complete impunity.”

The outcome in the Halimi case, she said, had been met by “a great deal of incomprehension.”

Dozens of senators, reacting to the case, have proposed a revision of the law to the effect that psychic disturbance cannot exonerate someone whose troubled mental state is induced by a narcotic.

Of three psychiatric reports on Mr. Traoré, two said he could not appear in court because his capacity for discernment at the time of the crime had been “eliminated” by his delirious mental state. The third, by Daniel Zagury, said his mental state had only been “altered” and so he could be tried.

“The crime of Mr. Traoré is a frenzied, anti-Semitic act,” Mr. Zagury wrote.

Shimon Samuels, the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations, called the verdict a “devastating blow,” which, he argued, “potentially creates a precedent for all hate criminals to simply claim insanity or decide to smoke, snort or inject drugs or even get drunk before committing their crimes.”

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