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Sotloff 'Just Wanted to Give a Voice to Those Who Had None'

In first public statement since their son's murder, journalist Steve Sotloff's family remember a man who only wanted to do the right thing.
By Yaakov Levi
First Publish: 9/4/2014, 11:39 AM

Steven Sotloff speaks before his murder by ISIS
Steven Sotloff speaks before his murder by ISIS
Screenshot

The family of murdered reporter Steve Sotloff spoke out Wednesday for the first time about the journalist's life and activities, telling the media via a spokesman that Steve had been “pulled by the Arab world” to “tell the stories of those who didn't have anyone else to tell them.”

ISIS terrorists beheaded the Jewish-American journalist Steve Sotloff - who had ties to Israel - just weeks after uploading a similar video of murdered journalist James Foley. In the video, entitled "A Second Message to America," Sotloff appears in a similar jumpsuit to Foley's before he is beheaded by an Islamic State terrorist. IS had threatened to kill the freelancer unless the US ceased its airstrikes on the terror group in Iraq.

Sotloff had been held for over a year by ISIS before the beheading. Speaking to media representatives Wednesday, family friend Barak Barfi said that since the abduction, “the family has refrained from speaking,” but that they felt they needed to speak out after the murder.

“We Americans want to work our jobs, farm our farms,” said Barfi, a research fellow with the New America foundation and friend of Sotloff's. “But time and again we are sucked into the world's crises and are often perplexed by what policies to follow and which ones to choose. Steve was equally torn between two poles. He yearned for a normal life where he could enjoy golf Sunday and work a banal job Monday that would provide him a comfortable middle class existence.

“But the Arab world pulled him,” said Barfi. “He was no war junkie, he did not want to be a modern day Lawrence of Arabia. He merely wanted to give voice to those who had none. Their story was Steve's story, he ultimately sacrificed his life to tell their story.

“Steve had a gentle soul, too gentle for this world,” Barfi continued. “His spirit will endure in our hearts. Today we mourn, but we will emerge from this crisis. We will not allow our enemies to hold us hostage with the sole weapon they possess – fear.

Our prayers also go out to family of Jim Foley,” Barfi added. Like Steve he suffered but his jailors did not break him. He was an inspiration for others in that dark prison, far away from the freedom of this country. And for me personally, I failed you – I left you in the field to suffer your fate. I will carry this burden until I meet you but I will never forget your kindness.”