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U.S. again excludes Israel from counterterrorism meeting (WORLD TRIBUNE) WASHINGTON 07/12/12)Source: http://www.worldnewstribune.com/2012/07/12/u-s-again-excludes-israel-from-counterterrorism-meeting/ WORLD TRIBUNE WORLD TRIBUNE Articles-Index-TopPublishers-Index-Top
WASHINGTON — The United States has allowed the exclusion of Israel from a Western-sponsored counter-insurgency forum for the second time in two months.

Officials acknowledged that Israel, deemed a leading expert, has again been excluded from a major Western CI meeting. They cited the Global Counterterrorism Forum, which took place in Spain on July 9 and which included many countries in the Middle East.

“A number of our close partners with considerable experience counting and — countering and preventing terrorism are not included among the GCTF’s founding members,” State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said on July 10. “We’ve discussed the GCTF and ways to involve Israel and its activities on a number of occasions, and we’re committed to making this happen.”

Ventrell’s response, given a day after the question of Israel’s exclusion was submitted to the State Department, matched nearly verbatim that given on June 8 after Israel was banned from the forum’s meeting in Turkey. At the time, officials attributed Israel’s exclusion to Turkish objections.

During the latest CI forum, Undersecretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights addressed the forum in a speech entitled “Victims of Terrorism.” Israel was not included in the countries that have sustained attacks deemed terror. Ventrell said he couldn’t explain the omission.

U.S. analysts agreed that Israel’s exclusion from the 29-member CI forum was intentional. They said the administration of President Barack Obama has adopted the position of Turkey to exclude Israel from all gatherings in which Ankara plays a major role.

“What we’re seeing is a trend of Israel being left out of the global discussion on terrorism, while Israel was extremely helpful during the beginning stages of this conversation,” Jonathan Schanzer, vice president for research at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said. “The administration is downplaying the struggle that Israel has been enduring.”

Congress has pressed the State Department to include Israel in the CI forum, in which Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also failed to mention the Jewish state in Istanbul in June. Congressional sources said the State Department has responded to appeals by House and Senate members that Washington could not expand the forum to include Israel.

“Though this is not a major issue, it is one more sign of the administration’s attitude toward the Israelis,” Jonathan Tobin, senior editor of Commentary Magazine, said. “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.” (Copyright © 2012 East West Services, Inc. 07/12/12)

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