You are now entering the Jewish Currents archive.

September 2: The Voice of the Voiceless

September 1, 2016

540676e97f25eA video showing the beheading by ISIS of Steven Sotloff, a 31-year-old American-Israeli journalist and grandson of two Holocaust survivors, was released on this date in 2014. Sotloff broke the Benghazi story in Libya in 2012, telling CNN that U.S. media reports about the killings being associated with rioters were wrong and identifying the actual planners of the attack. Sotloff was also one of the first reporters to interview everyday Syrian people suffering in that country’s civil war and to predict the current refugee crisis. This work earned him the title of “The Voice for the Voiceless,” as he was called by Time, NBC News, and other media outlets. Sotloff took up residence in Israel in 2008, after a Birthright trip. He spoke fluent Arabic and showed a deep respect for the Islamic world before being kidnapped by ISIS near Aleppo on August 4, 2013. He was killed a year later by Mohammed Emwazi, a British Arab who was the same executioner who had beheaded James Foley a few days earlier. Emwazi would be in turn killed by a drone strike in January 2016. Following Sotloff’s beheading, President Obama stated that the U.S. would take action to “degrade and destroy” ISIS.

“Steven Sotloff held joint U.S.-Israeli citizenship but managed to hide his faith from his ISIS captors, claims a fellow captive of the journalist who is now free. The 31-year-old kept his Judaism and his dual nationality secret from his ISIS kidnappers for the entire year he spent in captivity before his death, and even managed to fast for Yom Kippur by feigning an illness.”—Daily Mail