Martha Cohen

The value of a single human being: A way to stop the Palestinian Authority from paying for murder

“The principle of criminal law in every civilized society has this in common. Any person who sways another to commit murder; any person who furnishes a lethal weapon for the purpose of the crime; any person who is an accessory to the crime, is guilty.”

— Judge Dan Haywood

This line is part of a riveting speech given by Judge Haywood, played brilliantly by Spencer Tracy, as prelude to the verdict he is about to pass on the four German judges and prosecutors who are on trial for crimes against humanity in post-WWII Germany in the 1961 film “Judgment at Nuremberg.” The film was inspired by what is referred to as the “judges trial,” which was held in Nuremberg after the war.

I have watched this three-hour film many times over the years, yet it continues to draw me in. There are many reasons for that, including the work of its director and producer, Stanley Kramer, and the superior performances of its star-studded cast. Spencer Tracy, Judy Garland, Richard Widmark, Maximillian Schell (who won an Oscar for his performance as the zealous defense attorney), Marlene Dietrich, and Burt Lancaster all were superb. But there are many wonderful films that I don’t feel compelled to watch each time they are shown. So why the fascination with this one?

I think I found the answer to that question a few weeks ago, when I learned about a bill that was introduced and referred to the Committee on Foreign Relations. It is called the “Taylor Force Act” (S.3414). For those of you who may not immediately recall, Taylor Force was a very special young man. He was a West Point graduate who had served in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon returning home, he decided to pursue his MBA at Vanderbilt University. One evening in March of this year, he was on the boardwalk in Jaffa with a group of fellow students on an internship program in Israel when an Arab terrorist stabbed him to death in a knife attack. The rampage injured 11 others.

According to Vanderbilt’s Chancellor Nicholas Zeppos, “Taylor embarked on this trip to expand his understanding of global entrepreneurship and also to share his insights and knowledge with start-ups in Israel.” Taylor was not even 30. His life was extinguished brutally by a terrorist whose family now will be on the payroll of the Palestinian Authority through the PLO. (It uses a little accounting trick, since the Palestinian Authority cannot officially use international funds to pay terrorists. Never mind that the PA is part of the PLO. Details, details.)

The terrorist also would be a recipient for those funds if he hadn’t died that evening. Don’t worry, though. He was glorified at his funeral; the official Palestinian Authority spokesman said that his burial ceremony was “a national wedding, befitting of martyrs.”

Though this secretive payment for terror system came into being under Yasir Arafat, following the signing of the 1993 Oslo Accords, in 1998 a directive from President Abbas formalized payments to perpetrators and their families for the killing of innocent people in Israel. According to the senators who presented the Taylor Force Act, the pay scale is based on the severity of the injury — more deaths gets you the biggest payments. The PA brings the terrorists on as employees once their incarceration ends. Even the level of employment is measured according to the severity of the crime. For example, a 5- to 6-year sentence translates to approximately $500 per month, along with the choice of being a civilian department head or a lieutenant in the security forces. A 25- to 30-year sentence could result in $2,500 a month — six times the average income of the average Palestinian Arab worker — and the choice of becoming a deputy minister or a major general in the security forces.

Deliberately enticing your people to commit murder with promises of remuneration and honor for you and your family in perpetuity. Sounds like a diabolical lie, but the endless tears of parents like those of Taylor Force, as well as of spouses and children, remind us that this deviance is real and growing under the Palestinian Authority.

Yet the worst is that we, the citizens of the United States, are paying for this orchestrated indoctrination through the foreign aid we give the Palestinian Authority every year. It totals hundreds of millions of dollars — and that is just from the United States. There are hundreds of millions more coming from the EU and other countries, in addition to the funds dispersed from the UN through UNWRA. According to a 2012 Congressional Research Service report, since the mid-1990s the United States has committed more than 4 billion dollars to the PA, “who are among the world’s largest per capita recipients of international foreign aid.”

What in the world are we doing? We are, unknowingly for most of us, in Judge Haywood’s words, “accessory to the crime.” But we can do something about it today. We can call our representatives, ask them to co-sponsor the Taylor Force Act, and urge that they get it to the floor for a vote before another “martyr” is praised and paid.

Read the Taylor Force Act — it is barely two pages long. It conditions assistance based upon three pillars. Briefly, they are:

1. “Taking credible steps to end acts of violence against United States and Israeli citizens that are perpetrated by individuals under its jurisdictional control.”

2. Publicly condemning such acts and investigating or “cooperating in investigations of such acts to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

3. “Terminating payments for acts of terrorism against the United States and Israeli citizens.”

To those who might be swayed by representatives who will sympathize with the many American and Israeli lives lost due to this duplicity but still offer up as an excuse that they can’t support the bill because the Palestinian Authority is too weak to survive without this tremendous infusion of cash, the most trenchant response comes from another part of the same speech by Judge Haywood.

“The answer to that is, survival as what? A country isn’t a rock. It’s not an extension of oneself. It’s what it stands for. It’s what it stands for when standing for something is the most difficult. Before the people of the world, let it now be noted, that here in our decision, this is what we stand for — justice, truth, and the value of a single human being.”

“What it stands for.” This is the critical question in light of the indoctrination of the population to murder, beginning with children. What does the Palestinian Authority stand for?

“The value of a single human being.” Taylor Force. Ezra Schwartz. Naftali Frenkel. That’s just a few Americans who were brutally murdered within the last few years. There is no future for them, but American money continues to flow into the hands of their murderers and/or their families.

When we say never again, isn’t that what we mean? That every single human being has value and must be allowed to live out their full measure of days in peace? If so, then we have no choice but to fight for the Taylor Force Act.

“The value of a single human being.” I think that is worth fighting for, don’t you?

About the Author
Martha Cohen is an award winning producer and creative executive. She is a Berrie Fellow and currently sits on the JFNNJ JCRC and StandWithUs East Coast Boards. She chaired the JFNNJ Partnership2Gether when the Young Leadership program was developed and executed; and, continues to be closely involved. Martha and her husband David live in Fort Lee with their son, Harry.
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