Don’t Feed the Terrorist


Reuters reports that the so-called Islamic State has released a video that claims to show Moaz al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, being burned alive.

The so-called Islamic State (which is neither Islamic nor a State) employs this tactic regularly: they stage a gruesome death for a hostage on video. They know that this is “clickbait” for both their supporters and their enemies. They know we will be curious about that video. It is human nature to be curious.

So take action against ISIS: don’t look for that video. Don’t Google it. Don’t click on multiple stories about it. Learn what you absolutely need to know (if you’re like me, you’re already past that limit by reading the Reuters article or similar) and then leave it strictly alone.

Don’t feed the terrorists. Every click rewards the murder. Clicking the video or stories about the video is the equivalent of cheering for the murderers. Put even more simply: Want your dog to learn a trick? Give it a treat for doing the trick. Want your dog to unlearn the trick? Stop rewarding the trick with treats and attention.

Each of us individually may seem to be too small to matter. But ask any creator of YouTube videos: they watch the counters. Ask any blogger: we’re obsessed with our stats. Every click we withhold from these murderers is a small victory for decency.

Keep calm and don’t click.

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Rabbi Ruth Adar is a teaching rabbi in San Leandro, CA. She has many hats: rabbi, granny, and ham radio operator K6RAV. She blogs at and teaches at Jewish Gateways in Albany, CA.

12 thoughts on “Don’t Feed the Terrorist”

  1. The news this morning makes my heart ache and leaves me speechless. Perhaps that is really the best, “No comment!” and I won’t click.

    1. Exactly, Anne. No one needs to see it. For many human beings, though, we are wired to want to see things that we understand might be a threat to us. These videos appeal to very basic urges within us, and judging from the number of attempts to find them via search engines, a lot of people are curious.

  2. Thanks, Rabbi. I needed this. I’ve been struggling all day with my yetzer ha-ra that was pulling me to watch the gruesome video. It was the first thing I heard this morning when my radio alarm woke me and I felt poisoned by it. I appreciate your advice. Don’t click.

  3. Rabbi, your advice is always so sensible and clear. No matter what our beliefs are, we’re all human and concerned with world events and our soul/psyche/whatever.

    This is such an easy thing — heck, it’s a non-action — yet it means we can all fight evil in a tiny, tiny way, while keeping our own minds clearer.

      1. I shared this link with a bunch of friends and a European replied:
        “I’ve considered start reporting the posts with the videos as offensive on Facebook.
        Specially if they come from a news site.”

        Sounds like a mitzvah to me.

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