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Daniel Pearl Was One of Us
Last uploaded : Saturday 2nd Mar 2002 at 17:37
Contributed by : Reuven Koret


Daniel Pearl was an Israeli.
His father Yehuda was a world-famous scholar, an expert in artificial intelligence, born in Tel Aviv, trained in Haifa's Technion. There he met his wife, Ruth, also an Israeli. Together they moved to Princeton, where Daniel was born. His sisters Michelle and Tamara are also Israeli citizens.

Daniel Pearl was also an American. Born and raised in the United States, educated there, working there for one of America's premier publications. Many of his article were characterized by humor, and humanity. He saw his mission as facilitating cross-cultural understanding.

The Israeli citizenship of the Pearl family was a fact they tried hard to cover up, fearing, correctly, that it would further endanger his life. In the end, it did not help.

Daniel Pearl was a Jew. That was clear from his name, from his face. That could not be covered up. That also, no doubt, endangered his life. And yet Reuters reports that Daniel's last words before his throat was slit, according to an official who saw the videotape, was this: "Yes I am a Jew and my father is a Jew." That is how Daniel Pearl described himself a moment before his death.

Daniel Pearl had guts. Like his Biblical namesake, he went into "the lion's den," traveling to Pakistan to interview a Pakistani Islamic terrorist leader. As an American, as an Israeli, as a Jew, that takes courage. But there would be no miracles for this Daniel.

Daniel Pearl was a journalist, and a damn good one by all accounts. Anybody in the profession can identify with him, respect him, be proud of him. There but for the grace of God go you or I, we will say to each other.

Daniel Pearl clearly was not a spy, not for the Americans nor for the Israelis. He was his own man, in service to telling the truth.

The truth, unfortunately, is that these days, more than ever, it is dangerous to be an American, or an Israeli, or a Jew. Abroad or at home, in the United States or the Jewish State. And it is dangerous to tell the truth.

The dangerous truth is that there are tens of millions of people, maybe hundreds of millions, that celebrate and bless the deaths of Americans, Israelis, and Jews. They believe that killing the "infidels" - even the People of the Book to which they pay lip service - is a holy mission, a jihad that demands more and more innocent blood. And there are many, many of these murderers out seeking more blood.

The civilized world, whether it likes it or not, is at war against these barbarians, who will stop at nothing to impose their fanatical beliefs on us in any way they can, at any cost.

The truth is that we must fight them, or they will kill us. They will try to kill us slowly, with cowardly sniping and kidnapping and bombings. And they will try to kill us swiftly and massively, with biological and chemical and nuclear weapons.

We must act immediately before they can realize their plans. We must eliminate the killers, destroy their infrastructure, and force their primitive societies far from us, driving them back into their deserts, their caves and their pitiful holes. We must ban them from our world.

Listen, you cowardly murdering scum: I am an Israeli. An American. A Jew!

We may be few, compared to you. But we will not be defeated. The true People of the Book, Jews and Christians alike, and the non-fanatics of all races and religions, and nations, see that you and your murderous sect are and remain what they always were: outcasts, their hands raised against the world, fanatically driven by hatred and violence derived directly from your creed, or charitably, from its perversion.

We will not be intimidated by your terrorists, and we will not be driven to hate. We will not condemn people who embrace the peaceful teachings of Islam, and want only to live their lives and raise their children. We will not stop living, courageously, nor instill fear in our children, just because you Islamic fanatics seek to kill us. And we will not cease pursuing and speaking the truth, even if fainter souls deem it politically incorrect.

Daniel Pearl was a mensch, a man of character and strength. Even in the face of death, he proudly and boldly upheld his identity.

Daniel Pearl was one of us. May his loving wife raise their unborn child in a world where his or her identity need not be concealed.

Daniel Pearl, in death as in life, earned a place of honor in the eternal memory of his people: a lion of Judah, a pursuer of truth, a seeker of peace.


Reuven Koret is publisher of Israel Insider


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