Excluding Israel from Counterterrorism Conference
In a letter penned on June 11, 2012, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Mark Kirk wrote to Secretary of State Clinton to "express [their] surprise and disappointment of the absence of ...Israel, from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF)" which she attended in Istanbul last week.
Established in 2011, the Global Counterterrorism Forum:
is a new multilateral counterterrorism body with 30 founding members (29 countries plus the EU) from around the world. Launched by Secretary Clinton on September 22, 2011, the GCTF is a major initiative within the Obama Administration's broader effort to build the international architecture for dealing with 21st century terrorism. It will 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. With its primary focus on capacity building in relevant areas, the GCTF aims to increase the number of countries capable of dealing with the terrorist threats within their borders and regions. In addition to the adoption of the GCTF's founding political declaration and remarks from GCTF Foreign Ministers, the launch included the announcement of two deliverables - one on the rule of law and one on countering violent extremism - thus highlighting the GCTF's action-oriented focus from the outset.
The founding members of the GCTF are:
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.
Conspicuously absent is Israel, a country which has been the brunt of terrorism since its inception in 1948 and whose expertise in dealing with terror is unsurpassed.
Equally alarming is the fact that:
The United Nations is a close partner of and participant in the GCTF and its activities. The GCTF serves as a mechanism for furthering the implementation of the universally-agreed UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and, more broadly, complements and reinforces existing multilateral CT efforts, starting with those of the UN.
Given the unrelenting anti-Israel stance of the United Nations, this close partnership should raise credible suspicion that the GCTF will not serve as a counterterrorism forum by any means. At Anne Bayefsky's website, she explains that after the horrors of World War II:
The foundational UN principles of equality, universal human rights and fundamental freedoms emanated from a real and immediate sense of wrong and responsibility. As the Nuremberg Tribunal taught, 'Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities.' The UN was to play a central role in the so-called 'naming and shaming' of transgressors, and where necessary, was to garner the political will to stop egregious violations of dignity and freedom. The UN, however, has not lived up to the task of 'naming,' let alone shaming or intervening. [Sadly], the 'UN human rights system has squandered the commitment and passion of its original benefactors.'
The United Nations regularly condemns Israel and from1967 to 1989 alone the UN Security Council passed 131 resolutions directly addressing the Arab-Israeli conflict. They are rife with overwhelming bias against Israel and completely ignore the ongoing aggression of Arab countries. Recall also that arch-terrorist Yassir Arafat and Iran's genocidal President Mahmoud Ahmadinajad have been cordially received at the U.N.
According to Peter Collier, Jeane Kirkpatrick, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations under President Reagan showed her mettle and commitment to Israel when she charged that the:
Arab-Israeli conflict at the world body 'has nothing to do with peace, but is quite simply a continuation of war against Israel by other means.' [In essence] she said that the UN, as a result, had become a place where 'moral outrage was distributed like violence in a protection racket'; a place where Israel is regularly and routinely attacked for manufactured crimes amidst deafening silence 'when 3 million Cambodians died in Pol Pot's murderous utopia... when a quarter million Ugandans died at the hands of Idi Amin... and when thousands of Soviet citizens are denied equal rights, equal protection of the law; denied the right to think, write, publish, work freely or emigrate.'
Peter Collier, author of Political Woman: The Big Little Life of Jeane Kirkpatrick asserts that Kirkpatrick repeatedly pointed out that:
hatred of Israel deformed all aspects of UN operations: 'A women's conference is suddenly transformed into a forum for the denunciation of Israel' because of assertions that 'the biggest obstacle to the realizations of women's full enjoyment of equal rights in the world is Zionism....A meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency becomes so absorbed in negotiations and debate over a resolution to expel Israel that it almost forgets to worry about nuclear non-proliferation.'
These entrenched attitudes have become stronger and they are certainly emboldened by the anti-Israel animus of Obama advisors who openly disdain Israel. There is no "passionate indignation" over the treatment of Israel at the U.N. under the Obama presidency. After all Obama ignores the fact that "Turkey opposes calling Hamas a terrorist organization, even though Hamas is included on the State Department's list of terrorist organizations."
According to Globes, "the US blocked Israel's participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum's first meeting in Istanbul...even though Israel has one of the most extensive experiences in counterterrorism." The reason given was that the Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan objected to Israel's presence.
A top US official stated that "the GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations." One surely hears echoes of Obama's reaching out to the Muslim world to the detriment of the West. The latest information that Obama is secretly involving the jihadist terrorist group The Muslim Brotherhood in direct talks and information sharing is no secret any more.
Thus, it is no great surprise, given the affinity of Obama's desire to downplay Islamist terror that he would "deepen ties with the Muslim world at Israel's expense." Ironically, "Saudi Arabia, long known for spreading the radical Wahhabist ideology to which many terrorists adhere" is a member of the GCTF. Can one posit that the U.S.-Turkey Alliance tossed Israel under the bus?"
According to Sharona Schwartz, of the Blaze, "Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palor stated that Israel "never planned to go [to the conference] and it wasn't on the schedule." Palmor would 'not say if any Israeli officials had asked to attend, but pointed out that Israeli and U.S. officials held [their] own counterterrorism dialogue...days before the Istanbul meeting.'" Yet, an unnamed Israeli official blamed Israel's exclusion on Turkey and stated that "[t]he Turks have been behaving with irrational rage when it comes to Israel."
When questioned as to whether Israel requested membership to the Global Counterterrorism Forum and whether the United States, as a co-host of the forum, sought to get Israel involved, the State Department responded with the following:
Answer: Our idea with the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) was to bring together a limited number of traditional donors, front line states, and emerging powers to develop a more robust, yet representative, counterterrorism capacity-building platform. A number of our close partners with considerable experience countering and preventing terrorism are not included among the GCTF's founding members.
We have discussed the GCTF and ways to involve Israel in its activities on a number of occasions, and are committed to making this happen.
Don't hold your breath!
Eileen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.