Family and friends of murdered American: Pass the Taylor Force Act 

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“Taylor was very outgoing. No dislikes, no agendas. Enjoyed playing the guitar, an Eagle Scout… he was basically an all-American kid. He made sure that everyone around him felt good,” Stuart Force told the Haym Salomon Center, speaking about his son, whose life was taken by a Palestinian terrorist last year. 

“He would have made a great contribution to the betterment of so many people,” said the grieving father, trying his best to hold back the sadness in his voice. “And that is the greatest tragedy of all.” 

{mosads}A native Texan, Taylor graduated from West Point in 2009. It was there that he met and became good friends with his fellow classmate, David Simpkins, a former U.S. Army officer and veteran of the U.S. Global War on Terrorism. After leaving the military, David finished an Orthodox Jewish conversion in Jerusalem and now resides in Israel. 

“Taylor was a quiet professional,” said David with fond memories of his friend and former classmate. “At West Point, I could see him break down an issue and meticulously come up with the right solution.” David went on to describe himself as somewhat of a prankster during his time at West Point, who sometimes got into trouble with his fellow classmates. 

“When people wouldn’t talk to me due to my antics, it was Taylor who always checked up on me. He always came to my defense when others wanted to kick me out. Taylor was very kind to me,” said David. 

After completing his service, Taylor entered the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt University to study for his MBA. As part of his program, he visited Israel along with a study group. 

[Taylor] was just a very lovable guy,” said Ronen Gurievsky, Taylor’s best friend in Israel who now works as a tour guide. “He was the kind of guy who would make it a point not to leave anyone out. Very humble.” With Ronen having served in the Israeli military, both friends would share common experiences and life skills that they had developed at West Point and the Israel Defense Forces. Ronen related Taylor’s fascination with Israel, something he had shared with his father. 

“Taylor was really excited about going to Israel,” said Stuart. “We spoke about it via text and Instagram. He would send me pictures of him and his friends enjoying the nightlife. But it was also a chance for him to learn from emerging Israeli industries and teach what he had learned to Israelis. He was positioned to be a good presence in the U.S. military and make a great contribution to the betterment of so many people’s lives.” 

In March 2016, a Palestinian terrorist went on a stabbing rampage in Tel Aviv, killing Taylor and wounding 10 others. This act of barbarism spurred the creation of the Taylor Force Act, which would stop American economic aid to the Palestinian Authority until the PA ceases paying stipends to terrorists and their families. Because Taylor was killed by a Palestinian terrorist, the PA pays the murderer’s relatives a monthly pension equal to several times the average monthly Palestinian wage. 

“I don’t intend to cease payment for families of prisoner martyrs; even if it costs me my seat, I will continue to pay them until my last day,” said PA President Mahmoud Abbas, defiantly vowing to continue funding the families of Palestinian terrorists. 

Every year, the U.S gives nearly half a billion dollars to Abbas and the PA. Most of those funds, or their equivalent, are used to pay Palestinian terrorists who have murdered innocent Americans, Israelis and others.           

“I think supporting this act is the least anyone can do to honor [Taylor’s] memory,” said Ronen. “It will stop incentives to terror and give Palestinians a reason to wake up in the morning and live rather than die. Taylor is the kind of person who would want to give people a reason to live.” This feeling was shared by David and by Taylor’s father.

“I am in favor of anything to stop bloodshed,” said Stuart. “I feel that rewarding people for terrorism is totally out of the realm of decency. Taylor would have been proud of the effort to pass this act and know we were behind it. That is what keeps us going.” 

In Congress, there will certainly be plenty of arguments on healthcare, immigration reform and the national budget. But amidst all of the pettiness and squabbles, Congress must pass the Taylor Force Act above all else. It is our responsibility to make sure that murderers are not rewarded and that a good man who served his country, did not die in vain.

Bradley Martin is a Senior Fellow with the news and public policy group Haym Salomon Center and Deputy Editor for the Canadian Institute for Jewish Research.

The views expressed by this author are their own and are not the views of The Hill.


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