Obama snubs Israel by not inviting it to an international organization it naturally belongs to.
According to the MIPT (Memorial Institute for the Prevention of Terrorism) Terrorism Knowledge Base, which covers the period from 1968-2006, Israel suffered the fifth highest number of terror fatalities of any country over those years.
Calculated per capita, however (using today’s population figures), Israel moves into third place, having lost 19.2 lives per 100,000 people to terrorism over that period.
As a result of its frequent targeting by Palestinian terrorism, Israel is considered to be one country with vast experience in fighting terror.
On September 22, 2011, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has launched the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) – an Obama-Administration initiative “to build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism… provide a unique platform for senior counterterrorism policymakers and experts from around the world to work together to identify urgent needs, devise solutions and mobilize resources for addressing key counterterrorism challenges.”
The Obama administration chose Turkey to co-chair the GCTF. Turkey’s Islamist-leaning government disputes that Hamas is a terrorist group.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) has been assembled by the United States as a multilateral counterterrorism body with 30 founding members (29 countries plus the EU) from around the world:
Algeria, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, Egypt, the European Union, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Morocco, The Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
But Obama snubs Israel, again – Israel was not included by the Obama administration as a member of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
11 of the 29 GCTF state-members (Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates) are also members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), some of which are hostile towards Israel. All subscribe to the OIC’s 1999 Convention on Combating Terrorism which states that “armed struggle against foreign occupation, aggression, colonialism, and hegemony, aimed at liberation and self-determination in accordance with the principles of international law shall not be considered a terrorist crime,” referring to, of course, Palestinian and Muslim terrorism targeting Israel.
A documentary film ‘Hear their Voices’, (produced by the Global Survivors Network) was screened at the launch of GCTF on September 22, 2011, featuring terrorism survivors from Jordan, Northern Ireland, Pakistan, India, Uganda, Turkey, Columbia, Spain, Northern Ireland, Indonesia and the United States.
Israeli terrorism survivors were not featured in that film.
In her opening remarks, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said – referring to the screened film – that “they were victims of al-Qaida and its affiliates, of other terrorist groups like the PKK, Lashkar e-Tayyiba, the FARC, just to name a few.”
She did not mention Hamas, Hezbollah, or any other Palestinian terror organization involved in terrorism against Israel.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton then added that “From London to Lahore, from Madrid to Mumbai, from Kabul to Kampala, it’s innocent civilians who have been targeted…”
Her lists of cities victim to terrorist attacks did not include Israeli cities affected by terrorism such as Jerusalem, Tel-Aviv or Sderot.
On June 7, 2012, the second meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) opened in the Turkish city of Istanbul, with foreign ministers and senior representatives from the 30 founding countries in attendance.
Israel was not mentioned as a country subjected to terrorism, and was still kept out of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
After the June 7th gathering in Instanbul, with Israel still conspicuously absent from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), U.S. Senators Joseph Lieberman and Mark Kirk petitioned Clinton over Israel’s “wrongful omission”, expressing their disappointment with Israel’s exclusion from the inaugural meeting of the Global Counterterrorism Forum.
In the letter, Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) told Clinton that “there are few countries in the world that have suffered more from terrorism than Israel, and few governments that have more experience combating this threat than that of Israel.” “One of the stated missions of the GCTF is to ‘provide a needed venue for national [counterterrorism] officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from key countries in different regions to share [counterterrorism] experiences, expertise, strategies, capacity needs and capability-building programs.’ We strongly believe that Israel would both benefit from, and contribute enormously to, this kind of exchange,” Lieberman and Kirk wrote.
But Obama snubs Israel, again – Despite their pleas, the Obama administration is still excluding Israel from the counterterrorism forum and neglects to mention its long and deadly struggle with terrorism.
The 3rd GCTF gathering in Madrid, Spain, on July 9, 2012, was described as a “high-level conference on the victims of terrorism”. Maria Otera, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights gave a speech titled “Victims of Terrorism”, noting terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia and the United States.
Again, Israel was not mentioned.
“Last September at the official launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum” Maria Otera added, “I had the privilege to introduce the premiere of a film ‘Hear their Voices’, which tells the stories of eleven survivors of terrorist attacks from Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia, and the United States,” Otero said before the gathering of nations.
Again, Israeli terrorism survivors were not included in her roll-call of terrorist victims.
The State Department denied awareness of particular opposition of Israel’s involvement in the Forum by its members, and stonewalled reporters who inquired about the issue during its daily briefing.
“This is a conference about victims of terrorism. And I’m curious to know why [Otero] doesn’t mention Israel or Israelis in her comments talking about victims of terrorism,” asked AP reporter Matthew Lee on July 9, 2012. “Does the administration believe that Israel and Israelis specifically have been victims of terrorism?
“I don’t have the details of the Under Secretary’s speech”, responded Mr. Ventrell, a State Department spokesperson, who later promised to seek further details on the matter.
A day later he was unable to provide any details.
On July 12, 2012, Lee pitched the question again:
QUESTION: So I’m led to believe that you have an answer to my question about Israel and the Global Counterterrorism Cooperation Forum or whatever it’s called?
MR. VENTRELL: I do, Matt.
MR. VENTRELL: We believe that Israel would make a valuable contribution to the Global Counterterrorism Forum. We have raised the issue of Israeli participation in relevant GCTF activities with a number of GCTF partners at very senior levels. We will continue to do so as we move forward. Our discussion with Israel concerning the GCTF – our discussions have focused on Israeli participation and relevant activities to allow Israel to share its counterterrorism expertise with CT practitioners from GCTF-member and other countries.
Still, to date, Israel has not been invited by the United States to join the Global Counterterrorism Forum.