36 Under 36 2009: Brooke Goldstein, 28
Friday, April 24, 2009

 Brooke Goldstein went in and out of the West Bank for two years to probe some of the most dangerous Palestinian terrorists, compiling the clips that would become an award-winning documentary in 2006 — "Making the Martyr" — which exposes how Islamic militants force innocent children to become suicide bombers.

"These children are innocent," she said, explaining how they are brainwashed to believe that killing Jews will lead them to a land of candy and Ferris wheels. "They didn’t comprehend that when you blow your limbs apart, you die."

Ever since her days as a Cardozo Law student, Goldstein made it her goal to uproot this glaring human rights violation. One evening in 2004, she flipped on the television and saw the story of 15-year-old Hussam Abdu, who had attempted to enter Israel with live explosives strapped around his waist. But as he was apprehended at the checkpoint, he turned himself in to Israeli authorities and continues to serve an eight-year jail sentence today. "This child is literally a victim of state-sponsored child abuse," Goldstein remembers thinking. Her interest in protecting such children led her to write a thesis on this subject and eventually brought her to Israel, to document the evidence first-hand.

When her documentary was released, Goldstein found that people all over the world — including many, many Muslims — agreed with her outrage and uniformly began condemning the victimization of children as suicide bombers. "By focusing on the abuse of innocent Muslim children as suicide bombers, you can find base consensus and agreement by parties that would otherwise disagree," she says.

After completing the documentary, Goldstein met Middle East political commentator Daniel Pipes, who hired her to work for The Legal Project, where she defends counterterrorist scholars who are at risk of getting sued for their work by Islamic organizations, she says.

She also established The Children’s Rights Institute, a nonprofit organization that raises awareness about state-sponsored recruitment of child suicide bombers. A respected public advocate, Goldstein delivers lectures at universities and organizations all over the world, where she hopes to spread awareness about the victimization of Palestinian children.

"It’s a form of societal suicide," she says.

Party on: Goldstein likes to socialize and go out dancing, particularly to Cuban music at a club in Brooklyn.

Staff Writer

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