Algeria… Australia…Canada…China…Colombia…Denmark…Egypt…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…United Arab Emirates…United Kingdom…United States...
These countries make up the Global Counterterrorism Forum, a group formed in 2011 under the leadership of the United States, to “provide a unique platform for senior [counterterrorism] policymakers and experts from key partners in different regions to share key insights and best practices.”
But who’s missing? The State of Israel.
Following Israel’s blatant omission when the Global Counterterrorism Forum was created, assurances were given by the United States government that a way would be found to include the Jewish State.
It is one year later - nothing has changed.
This is why the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s letter of protest to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is so urgent. Rabbi Marvin Hier, SWC Founder and Dean wrote, “I am well aware that Turkey, one of the co-chairman of the Forum is in opposition to an Israeli presence, but with all due respect to Turkey or any other country, the Forum was created by the United States and Israel is amongst the United States’ most reliable and trusted allies.
Rabbi Hier also added, “…having a Global Counterterrorism Forum and not including Israel, is like having a global technology conference and excluding the United States of America. There is no one with more experience at combatting terrorism or educating civilians about it, than the State of Israel. I think the time has come for the United States to make it very clear why Israel continues to be excluded.“
Additionally, just last month, Senators Joseph Lieberman and Mark Kirk also wrote to Secretary Clinton expressing their surprise and disappointment of “the absence of our ally, Israel, from the Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF), which you attended in Istanbul last week…. As you know, there are few countries in the world that have suffered more from terrorism than Israel, and few governments that have more experience combatting this threat… We look forward to hearing from you about whether the Administration shares our views that Israel rightfully belongs as a full participant in the GCTF, and what, if any, steps you are prepared to take to right this wrongful omission."
In a further statement Rabbi Hier said, “I understand that the Administration’s logic may have been an attempt to reach out to include broad participation from the Arab world as well, but at what price? I think excluding Israel only rewards those whose sole objective is to label Israel a pariah state.”
Read Rabbi Hier's letter to Secretary Clinton here...
Updates and developments on this story to follow.