Counterterrorism Forum Excludes Israel Despite State’s Record of Suffering Terrorist Attacks
by ADAM KREDO
July 10, 2012
Despite pleas from Senators on Capitol Hill, the Obama administration excluded Israel from a new counterterrorism forum and neglected to mention its long and deadly struggle with terrorism during remarks presented yesterday in Spain.
Maria Otero, the State Department's Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, delivered a speech entitled "Victims of Terrorism" before 29 members of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, an coalition of countries-not including Israel-that collectively combat terror.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparked a controversy in June when she announced the coalition's formation and neglected to include Israel on a list of countries that perpetually struggle with terror attacks. It is widely believed that Israel was overlooked as a member due to the opposition of Turkey, which has increasingly been at odds with the Jewish state.
Congressional sources and regional experts say that the Obama administration is intentionally downplaying Israel's struggle with terrorism in order to appease and gain the cooperation of Arab nations that are often hostile to the Jewish state.
A congressional source told the Free Beacon Tuesday that the State Department confirmed to inquiring members of Congress that Israel was in fact excluded from the conference.
"The State Department told us that only the 29 original member countries were involved-and that means no Israel," said the source.
During yesterday's gathering, Israel was also excluded again from a list of nations recognized by the U.S. for their efforts to deal with terrorism.
"Last September at the official launch of the Global Counterterrorism Forum, 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.
"The film, which was produced by the Global Survivors Network, is a powerful plea for audiences around the world, especially those sympathetic to the grievances expressed by extremists, to recognize the human cost of terrorism and I am delighted that our Spanish hosts are planning on showing this film here later this afternoon," she added.
Experts say the omission of Israel was intentional.