By Deborah Weiss Thursday, September 20, 2012
Recently, a high-level conference on the Victims of Terrorism was held in Madrid. The sponsoring organization, the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) is the brainchild of the Obama administration and one of its “signature initiatives” on counterterrorism. Its purported purpose is to increase global cooperation in fighting terrorism worldwide. Yet, despite Israel’s interest in joining the alliance, the GCTF, under the leadership of the Obama administration, has excluded Israel from all participation.
The GCTF is intended to “provide a multilateral platform to identify civilian counterterrorism needs, mobilize the necessary expertise and resources to address such needs, and to enhance global cooperation,” according to its website. Its mission is to help countries defend themselves against threats within their borders and to deny terrorist groups new recruits. However, the forum is applying none of this to Israel, America’s closest friend and ally in the fight against terrorism.
Israel fought hard to become involved with the GCTF. Nevertheless, it was precluded from joining as a founding member, and it has been denied the opportunity to attend or participate in any of its three conferences held thus far. Obama administration officials even have omitted Israel from mention during conference speeches when listing countries affected by terrorism. It’s as though Israel is nonexistent.
Israel is one of the largest targets of international terrorism. Per capita, it has suffered the third-highest number of fatalities in the world. Israel is also considered expert in coping with terrorist attacks. Accordingly, Sen. Joe Lieberman, Connecticut independent, and Sen. Mark Kirk, Illinois Republican, sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton a letter expressing concern about Israel’s exclusion from the GCTF. They pointed out that Israel could benefit from and contribute to the alliance if included. Their request was ignored.
A glimpse into the forum’s membership might provide insight into the reason for its rejection of Israel.