Actions speak louder than words. Vice President Biden said that the Obama administration has been a steadfast friend to Israel. However, in my opinion, Obama treats Israel as if they’re the enemy. When the US created the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF) last year, Israel should have been the first country they invited to join. Instead, they invited Egypt, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia to be members, and Israel was conspicuously absent. Obama should realize that Israel is our greatest ally in the Middle East, and stop treating them like they don’t exist.
The Global Counterterrorism Forum is a major initiative of the Obama administration which was created to provide a venue for counterterrorism officials and practitioners to meet with their counterparts from other countries to share experiences, expertise, strategies, capacity needs, and capacity-building programs.
It sounds like it was created with Israel in mind; the State of Israel is a primary target of international terrorists and they are experts in how to deal with the problem. Excluding Israel from this organization would be like excluding Jews from a conference on the Holocaust. However, that’s exactly what happened.
The 29 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. Slightly more than one-third of the members belong to the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a bloc of 56 Islamic countries working to impose Islamic law on the world and six of those 11 members belong to the Arab League. Both groups have defined terrorism to exclude Israeli victims and terrorists to exclude groups dedicated to the destruction of Israel, such as Hamas and Hezbollah. In my opinion, it’s no wonder that Israel was excludedthese are the groups terrorizing Israel.
At the first Global Counterterrorism conference held in Istanbul, Turkey, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sat next to her Turkish co-chairman, ensconced amid ministers from Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates and spoke about countries that have dealt with terrorism. She did not mention Israel. Not only were they excluded from the forum; they were not referred to at all.
Turkey insisted that Israel be excluded from the first conference, but that doesnt explain why they were not invited to the second conference held recently in Spain.
At the second conference, Maria Otera, US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy and Human Rights gave a speech, noting terrorist attacks in Pakistan, Jordan, Northern Ireland, Uganda, Turkey, Indonesia, India, Spain, Columbia and the United States. Again, Israel was not mentioned; they’re being treated as if they don’t exist.
The big questions are: why did President Obama agree to exclude Israel from the organization? And why isn’t anyone making Obama explain this. When asked about the omission, the State Department spokesperson chose not to answer.
Although Israel did not complain about the snub, top security experts there are worried about the Obama administrations willingness to freeze them out of the conferences.
Israel has been one of the key counterterrorism allies of the United States for 30 years, observed Dr. Dore Gold, Israels former Ambassador to the United Nations.
The way I see it, the Obama administration has a nave or even uninformed view of recent upheavals in Arab-Islamic states, particularly events in Egypt and Turkey. They seem to believe that the Erdogan government in Turkey and the new regime of Muslim Brotherhood leader Muhammad Morsi are both forces for moderation.
Visiting Turkey was one of the first major foreign trips President Obama took. He delivered a dramatic public speech in Egypt that seemed to undermine the regime of Husni Mubarak, the old president, while inviting participation from The Muslim Brotherhood.
Egyptian President-Elect Morsi and his aides have made many inflammatory statements about Israel and Jews recently.
Jihad is our path, and death for the sake of Allah is our most lofty aspiration, yelled Morsi, in a widely televised campaign appearance. He repeated the words several times.
Terror attacksfrom Gaza and Sinaijumped ten-fold in June. Some of the attacks were infiltrations on the border fence, while others involved multiple-rocket barrages, including 197 rockets, and there appears to be a trend of using more sophisticated and heavier weapons in the assaults.
Constantly appeasing the Arabs, criticizing Israel and leaving them out of the GCTF sends a clear message: Israel is being isolated and marginalized by the United States. In my opinion, Obama is not a friend to Israel and he is brazenly exposing his anti-Jewish and anti-Israel prejudice. Do you really want him in the White House for another four years?
Ben-Gurion Matsas is the publisher/editor of IMAGE Magazine and the president of the Sephardic National Alliance.