For certain animal activists, the life of a 5-year-old Israeli girl counts less than the life of a donkey

The Virginian Pilot (www.pilotonline.com) reports that PETA ("People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals") has pleaded with Arafat to stop the violence and the killing... of donkeys:

On Jan. 26, a bomb exploded on the road between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

As terror attacks go, this one was minor. Most of us didn't hear about it because, with the exception of one bus passenger treated for shock, no one was injured. Thank God.

Palestinian terrorists delivered the bomb to its destination by donkey. They strapped explosives and a remote device to the animal and detonated the bomb by cell phone as an Israeli bus passed by. The donkey, of course, was killed. [...]

PETA, the group that never before expressed concern about the carnage in Israel, is suddenly outraged. [...]

PETA President Ingrid Newkirk this week fired off a fax to Yasser Arafat:

``. . . We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing . . . in which a live donkey, laden with explosives, was intentionally blown up. [...]

``If you have the opportunity,'' Newkirk beseeched Arafat, ``will you please add to your burdens my request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the animals out of this conflict?'' In other words, Newkirk seems to be begging the Palestinians not to stop the slaughter, but rather to find a different delivery system for their bombs. [...]

The Washington Post this week asked Ms. Newkirk if she had ``considered asking Arafat to persuade those who listen to him to stop blowing up people as well'' as animals. Her response should be required reading for all would-be members of PETA:

``It's not my business to inject myself into human wars,'' Newkirk told the Post.

Sure, I agree that animals should not be treated cruelly. But if PETA is going to make a plea to Arafat and his thugs - shouldn't the plea also include an end to the deliberate killing of men, women and children as well? PETA's last remark (on "human wars") shows how biased they are: this "human war" would stop tomorrow if the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Arafat's terrorists stopped murdering people.

I almost put this in the humor section, but sadly it's a true story. For PETA the life of 5-year-old Danielle Sheffi counts less than the life of a donkey.

I copy the full article below - thanks to LGF for the link.

Update: Please read the comments on this entry - you'll find a response from PETA and additional thoughts about this story (including a semi change of heart on my part).





Arafat gets asinine plea from PETA on intefadeh
The Virginian-Pilot, February 6, 2003
http://www.pilotonline.com/
opinion/op0206dou.html

Every so often, I violate my own policy against giving PETA -- People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals -- the publicity it desperately desires and doesn't deserve.

I do this whenever the Norfolk-based animal rights group does something so astonishing, it simply can't be ignored.

This is one of those times.

But our story doesn't begin in Norfolk. It begins in Israel.

On Jan. 26, a bomb exploded on the road between Jerusalem and the West Bank settlement of Gush Etzion.

As terror attacks go, this one was minor. Most of us didn't hear about it because, with the exception of one bus passenger treated for shock, no one was injured.

Thank God.

Palestinian terrorists delivered the bomb to its destination by donkey. They strapped explosives and a remote device to the animal and detonated the bomb by cell phone as an Israeli bus passed by.

The donkey, of course, was killed.

You know where this is going, don't you?

That's right. PETA, the group that never before expressed concern about the carnage in Israel, is suddenly outraged.

All because a donkey died.

Never mind that, according to the Israeli embassy, which keeps track of such grim statistics, 729 Israelis have perished in terrorist attacks since September 2000.

It took the death of a donkey for PETA to find its voice.

Leave the animals out of it, they cry.

Determined to make Hampton Roads look like a breeding ground for wackos to the rest of the world, PETA President Ingrid Newkirk this week fired off a fax to Yasser Arafat.

She began the letter with a polite salutation: ``Your Excellency.''

I can think of lots of titles for Arafat. Excellency isn't among them.

But I digress.

``. . . We have received many calls and letters from people shocked at the bombing . . . in which a live donkey, laden with explosives, was intentionally blown up.

``All nations behave abominably in many ways when they are fighting their enemies, and animals are always caught in the crossfire. The U.S. Army abandoned thousands of loyal service dogs in Vietnam. (Odd. No mention of our dead soldiers, MIAs, POWs or even loyal South Vietnamese allies who were left behind, but again, I digress.)

``Al-Qaeda and the British government have both used animals in hideously cruel biological weaponry tests.''

Brace yourselves. It gets worse.

``We watched on television as stray cats in your own compound fled as best they could from Israeli bulldozers''

Fleeing cats! PETA confronts the horror of war.

``Animals claim no nation. They are in perpetual involuntary servitude to all humankind, and, although they pose no threat and own no weapons, human beings always win the undeclared war against them. . . .

``If you have the opportunity,'' Newkirk beseeched Arafat, ``will you please add to your burdens my request that you appeal to all those who listen to you to leave the animals out of this conflict?'' In other words, Newkirk seems to be begging the Palestinians not to stop the slaughter, but rather to find a different delivery system for their bombs.

Appalling.

Perhaps Ms. Newkirk would prefer that the Palestinians used suicide bombers instead of burros. Oh, that's right, they usually do.

Lisa Lange, PETA's vice president of communications, told me yesterday that Newkirk's letter was written after their offices had been bombarded with calls from PETA members who had learned of the donkey bomb.

Lange said it's PETA's philosophy that human cruelty often begins with animal cruelty.

The Washington Post this week asked Ms. Newkirk if she had ``considered asking Arafat to persuade those who listen to him to stop blowing up people as well'' as animals.

Her response should be required reading for all would-be members of PETA:

``It's not my business to inject myself into human wars,'' Newkirk told the Post.

How does one respond to such moral ambiguity?


How about a body count of human bodies?

In January 2003 -- the month in which the donkey died -- 21 Israelis and eight foreign nationals were killed by terrorists in Israel, and 127 others were injured.

Yet PETA weeps for the ass.

Radio talk show host Tony Macrini got it right when he remarked recently that ``PETA'' was an acronym for ``People Embarrassing the Tidewater Area.''

One can only hope that Newkirk left off her Norfolk return address on that asinine letter to Arafat.

Reach Kerry at 446-2306 or at kerry.dougherty@att.net

Posted by David Melle
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Comments

Dear David,
I understand that you can not accept someone asking mercy for animals and ignoring the fact that innocent human life is taken away day after day on both sides of the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. I do not understand that either. however, This woman probably has very little to do with the political side of the conflict or any other ploitical conflict for that matter she chooses to address the part that concerns the scope of her organization which is animal rights. I am sure if that donkey was blown up anywhere else in the world Ms. Newkirk would have had the same reaction because simply she reflects the views of her organization not her personal opinion which we know nothing of. For this reason, I find it hard to establish the link you made between the the death of the donkey and young Danille, May God rest her soul, Ms. Newkirk never associated both so why do you do it??

Posted by: diana at February 9, 2003 12:22 AM


Danielle Shefi's life, may her memory be for a blessing, of course did not, does not, "count for less" than any other life. How shabby it is to put this twist on PETA's objection. Danielle Shefi has many to speak for her, and they should. That donkey has only PETA. Look at the bright side: PETA brought the horror of Palestinian terrorism into the public forum. That can only be good. I'm sure it was well meant. With all the troubles we have already, why make this into something it isn't -- or needn't be?

Posted by: Yael at February 12, 2003 01:46 PM


I love both Israel and PETA. Obviously someone like Arafat who doesn't care one whit about human life is not going to care in the least about animal suffering but good on PETA for publicizing his blowing up animals as well as humans. Sounds like this author hates PETA regardless and just used this case to bash an organization that does a lot of good.

Posted by: Andrew at February 12, 2003 03:48 PM


People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) appreciates the opportunity this message board provides for people to discuss the issues PETA raises. We respect everyone’s right to express their opinions and are grateful to those of you who show your support for PETA and the animal rights movement in general. Unfortunately, some of the information that is posted here is either false or misrepresented. Many of these issues are addressed in our Frequently Asked Questions pages on our Web site at: peta.org/fp/faq.html. For information about PETA’s accomplishments and projects, please visit www.peta.org/about/success.html.

Below is our response to Ms. Dougherty’s piece.


Dear Editor:

I'm an Israeli, born, raised and am dumbfounded by Kerry Dougherty's column criticizing People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals for appealing to Yasser Arafat not to harm animals (Feb. 10). My family lives in Israel and despite the constant threat of violence they can still find it in their hearts to care about all the innocents who are victimized by the turbulence in the mid-east. Indeed, it was the avalanche of e-mails from Israel and around the world that prompted PETA to issue a plea for the animals.

What a shame that Ms. Dougherty can't seem to imagine that it is possible to care about people and work to help animals--not mutually exclusive missions by any stretch of the imagination. PETA opposes violence and cruelty to all beings. There are millions of people and hundreds of organizations working to help the human victims of the conflict in the mid-east. Those very humans--knee-deep in danger, fear and pain--voiced outrage and concern over the use of this poor donkey as a walking bomb (as anyone with an ounce of compassion should). Why can't Kerry Dougherty?

We at PETA have chosen to work for animal because the

animals also need help -- not to the exclusion of people, but in addition to them. Just a few months ago, we sent a delegation to this trouble spot to distribute healthy, vegetarian food to both Arab and Israeli children, bringing a simple message of non-violence along with nutritious food.

I wish Ms. Dougherty had been able to meet one of my fellow PETA employees, Ravi Chand, who worked tirelessly to share a message of compassion for animals. But Ravi, also a marine reservist, isn't here; he has just shipped out with his platoon for Kuwait. He has put his life on the line to defend his country, yet he, like so many in Israel--my own brother among them--can see what Ms. Dougherty missed: We don't have to choose between people and animals. We can care for all.

Sincerely,

Daphna Nachminovitch, Manager

Domestic Animal Issues & Abuse Department

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA)

501 Front St.

Norfolk, VA23510

Posted by: PETA at February 14, 2003 11:36 AM


I have two dogs that I took in from an animal shelter - it is clear that PETA does a great job, and deserves our support.

What bothered me (and Ms. Dougherty) is the fact that while a plea was being made to save the Palestinian donkeys, no such plea was being made by PETA to save the Israeli women and children murdered by Arafat's thugs.

Yes, there are other organizations that speak up for the human victims of the conflict, but in this case it seemed that PETA clearly made a choice not to focus on the human victims of Palestinian terrorism.

That said, since I am not a politician, I can admit that I was partially wrong: the comments from Diana, Yael, Andrew and Daphna made a lot of sense and changed my original feelings about PETA in this whole story.

Maybe PETA needs to concentrate only on animal suffering or its message won't come across as effectively? Furthermore, it seems clear that PETA members do care not only about the animals, but also about all beings who suffer as a consequence to the intolerance, racism and violence of Hamas, the Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Arafat's Al-Aksa Brigades.

I am leaving my original remarks since the whole thread wouldn't make much sense without them.

Posted by: David Melle at February 14, 2003 10:12 PM


the wrong ass was killed

Posted by: henry scherer at February 19, 2003 05:28 AM


I'm sure that PETA values human lives over animals, but that's not what they do. PETA is for the animals. I hate how people think that animals should be the last thing anyone should think about. PETA never said that the donkey was more important than the girl. Your article was offensive and I hope no one ends up hating PETA because of your article. This article should be taken off the internet.

Posted by: Elise at May 17, 2003 03:22 PM


It seems to me there are many spiecies of ass out there. some self aware, some not. I prefer the term "donkey" ,, it's more politicaly correct. he,haw.

Posted by: stewie at December 28, 2003 01:18 PM


It seems to me there are many spiecies of ass out there. some self aware, some not. I prefer the term "donkey" ,, it's more politicaly correct. he,haw.

Posted by: stewie at December 28, 2003 01:18 PM


Israeli Girls and donkeys are both sentient beings so both of them deserve the same respect.

The life of a donkey is not more valuable than the life of a girl but the life of a girl isnt more valuable thant that of a donkey. Both of them are equals.

What an absurd to say that if someone complains for a donkey murder she doesnt care of human murders.

PETA is for defending rights of non human animals nor human rights. So is logical that she complain about the donkey nor the girls.

Sure if some human right activist complains about the killing of girls you will say that he doesnt care about the donkey???

its absurd.

Go vegan!!! All animals are equal!!!

Posted by: flex23 at December 8, 2005 08:43 AM


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