The United States blocked Israel’s participation in the Global Counterterrorism Forum’s (GCTF) first meeting in Istanbul on Friday, despite Israel’s having one of the most extensive counterterrorism experiences in the world.
Israel was excluded from the meeting due to fierce objections by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a Washington-based source told Globes news…
Twenty-nine countries are participating in the GCTF, ten of which are Arab and/or Muslim countries.
The GCTF was created (and is undoubtedly mostly funded by) the US. According to the State Department,
The U.S. proposed the creation of the GCTF to address the evolving terrorist threat in a way that would bring enduring benefits by helping frontline countries and affected regions acquire the means to deal with threats they face. It is based on a recognition that the U.S. alone cannot eliminate every terrorist or terrorist organization. Rather, the international community must come together to assist countries as they work to confront the terrorist threat.
Given that the most ‘frontline’ country facing terrorist threats is Israel, which has been subjected to terrorism on an almost daily basis since its birth, one would expect that Israel would be among the founding members of the GCTF.
Nope. Israel was not included among the membership, and as we see from the above, is not even permitted to attend its meetings as a non-member.
Do we begin to sense the stench of hypocrisy here, as our State Department happily acquiesces in maintaining Israel’s pariah status for the benefit of the ‘enlightened’ members of this forum like Turkey, Pakistan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia?
I am here today also to underscore that the United States will work with all of you to combat terrorists within the framework of the rule of law. Now some believe that when it comes to counterterrorism, the end always justifies the means; that torture, abuse, the suspension of civil liberties – no measure is too extreme in the name of keeping our citizens safe…
I know that the United States has not always had a perfect record, and we can and must do a better job of addressing the mistaken belief that these tactics are ever permissible. That is why President Obama has made our standards very clear. We will always maintain our right to use force against groups such as al-Qaida that have attacked us and still threaten us with imminent attack. And in doing so, we will comply with the applicable law, including the laws of war, and go to extraordinary lengths to ensure precision and avoid the loss of innocent life.
Of course, the Obama Administration has been responsible for many more targeted killings than its predecessor — not that I think that’s a bad thing — but apparently it’s the attitude that’s important.
The real purpose behind the GCTF was made clear at the conference:
“The GCTF sought from the outset to bridge old and deep divides in the international community between Western donor nations and Muslim majority nations. And it has, I think, done that quite effectively,” a top US official said at the press briefing prior to the opening session.
The $90 million so far distributed by the GCTF to ‘frontline’ countries may have helped.