Wiesenthal Center Rejects State Department Letter on the Exclusion of Israel from US-Sponsored Global Counterterrorism Forum

The Simon Wiesenthal Center has rejected a letter from the State Department, which failed to explain why the United States chose to exclude Israel from the 29-nation ongoing Global Counterterrorism Forum (GCTF). A July 19, 2012 letter from Ambassador Daniel B. Benjamin, the State Department's Coordinator for Counterterrorism said that 10 months after the convening of the forum the US was "working to involve Israel in some seminal GCTC activities in the near future." (click here to read July 19 State Department letter and the Center’s original protest)

"Frankly, the Ambassador's response begs the central question. Why would the U.S State Department exclude Israel in the first place?” Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper, the dean and founder and associate dean of the leading Jewish NGO asked. "As the brutal attack in Bulgaria proved yet again, Israelis are a key target of terrorism and her citizens and Jews the world over are often victimized where they work, pray, and study. In addition, Israel's expertise at counter terrorism and developing strategies to protect civilians and airports is recognized police and intelligence agencies, the world over." Failure to bring Israel's expertise to the table means America is not doing all it can to protect our citizens and other innocent civilians around the world."

"It is no secret that leaders in Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Pakistan are committed it isolate Israel in International Forums and to apply a deadly double standard when it comes to the Jewish state and her supporters. That the United States would cater to such a mindset is outrageous and unacceptable. We have just seen that worldview at work as the International Olympic Committee rejected President Obama's request for a minute of silence at the 2012 Olympic Games this weekend in memory of 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games."

"The Simon Wiesenthal Center reiterates its call to Secretary of State Clinton to take the necessary steps to include Israel as a full member, along with all other countries targeted by the scourge of terror into the Global Counterterrorism Forum", Center officials concluded.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).

For more information, please contact the Center's Public Relations Department, 310-553-9036, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

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