Sorry I’m not sure if this went through the last time I sent it.

-Brian Gottesman (’00)

To the Editor:

Todd Hildebrandt’s editorial on the murder of Daniel Pearl, like many circulating in the national media, ignores one of the most basic issues of the case. It overlooks the simple fact that according to Pearl’s own killers, he was murdered because he was a Jew. At least one of his kidnappers has already admitted that he and his colleagues were looking for a Jewish victim. Fahad Naseem, a suspect in the case, was reported as saying “[We took him because] he was anti-Islam and a Jew” (Washington Post 2/26/02). Mr. Naseem is mistaken on one of these points, as Pearl was certainly not anti-Islam. In fact, he has been portrayed as rather sympathetic to Muslim concerns and was lauded for his evenhanded reporting. Pearl was, however, Jewish.To many who have been following events in the Middle East, the fact that Pearl’s murder was fueled by anti-Semitism will hardly come as a surprise. The media in the Islamic world’s many dictatorships, though unable to criticize their own governments, are more than willing to fill their pages with anti-Semitic caricatures. Throughout the region, the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11 were blamed on either Jews or Zionists. Egypt’s most prominant newspaper, al-Ahram, flat-out said the attack was the work of “the Jews and the Israeli intelligence agency, Mossad.” Other newspapers have reported that no Jews went to work that day, that Jews were seen cheering the collapse of the World Trade Center, and numerous other lies. Nor does the outrageous litany of hatred end there. In December, the Saudi newspaper al-Watan ran a two-part series entitled “The Jewish Sense of Superiority in the World.” Among its “revelations” were the “secret plans” of the Jews to – what else? – “take over the world.” Given the daily and continuous exposure to articles that would make the Nazis proud, it is not surprising that Pearl’s killers used his Jewishness as justification for their murder.Nor does Hildebrandt’s article suggestany sort of response to this heinous act. The United States must send a message that it will tolerate attacks on its journalists no more than on its financial institutions. This means that we must take action against the group that kidnapped Daniel Pearl. The evildoers (and despite the now-fashionable mockery of President Bush for his overuse of that term, that is exactly what they are), must be brought to justice quickly if possible, or swiftly and efficiently liquidated if it is not.

Brian Gottesman -Class of 2000

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