Back in June, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton caught some flack for acquiescing to Israel’s exclusion from a global counter-terrorism forum. The event was held in Istanbul and the snub to the Israelis was widely believed to be the result of a demand from the event’s Turkish hosts that the Jewish state be kept out of the party even though it has unique expertise in the area. But apparently, the slight to the Israelis was not limited to the event’s initial venue.
As Adam Kredo reports at the Washington Free Beacon, Israel wasn’t invited to the session of the counter-terrorism forum held yesterday in Spain. That was especially telling as Maria Otero, Under Secretary of State for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights, delivered a speech at the Spanish conclave titled “Victims of Terrorism.” But not only was an Israeli delegation not present when she spoke, but during her address, Otero never even mentioned the experience of Israeli terror victims. Though Otero’s anti-terrorist sentiments were unexceptionable, the exclusion of Israel, one of the primary targets of international terrorists and among the leading experts in how to deal with the problem, was clearly intentional. As Kredo noted, the State Department spokesperson refused to answer when asked about the omission of Israel from the speech and the conference. Though the Obama administration has been touting the president as Israel’s best friend ever during the election year Jewish charm offensive that followed three years of constant fights with the Jewish state, American diplomats have not gotten with the White House’s political program.
Though President Obama has boasted of his friendship with Turkey’s Islamist Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, this is not a theme Democratic campaign surrogates like to discuss. Though the close relations with Turkey are sometimes explained as part of the administration’s efforts to isolate Iran, Erdoğan has made a fool of Obama by continuing his country’s lucrative trade with Tehran and using gold as a method to elude the Western sanctions on the Iranians. But rather than placing extra pressure on the Turks, the president has characteristically sought to appease them with the exclusion of Israel from the counter-terrorism conference as part of the down payment.
Though Israel wisely chose not to publicly complain about the snub, reportedly it did register its views privately and some members of Congress spoke up about the issue last month. But the complaints fell on deaf ears as Otero’s speech demonstrated.
Though this is not a major issue, it is one more sign of the administration’s attitude toward the Israelis. Should the president be re-elected and get the “flexibility” that he has said he would then have to act on foreign affairs, Israel should expect a lot more of this sort of thing if not worse.