On the contrary, what the UAE means by terrorism in “all its forms and manifestations” was unequivocally spelled out by its UN representative, Ali Alshemail. Speaking at the General Assembly on October 6, 2010, he said:
[We] emphasize that elimination of the danger of terrorism requires us to address all forms and manifestations of terrorism without exception, including the state terrorism which violates the right of peoples to self-determination. …
[W]e support…a clear definition of terrorism and to differentiate it from the legitimate struggle of people under foreign occupation.
In short, Israeli civilians are fair game.
Furthermore, instead of the GCTF modifying the views of its Muslim members, the spillover effect appears to be operating in the opposite direction. At its September 2011 launch all members of the GCTF — including the Obama administration — adopted the so-called Cairo Declaration on Counterterrorism and Rule of Law. Published by the State Department itself, the declaration states: “Noting the importance of relevant regional and international instruments.” The relevant regional instruments include the OIC terrorism treaty — and its exception clauses.
Moreover, Secretary Clinton gave the UAE’s counter-terrorism center a vote of confidence at the GCTF meeting on June 7, 2012, in Istanbul, Turkey. She said:
[T]he UAE took an important step when it announced it would host the first-ever international center developed to combat extremism and develop those best practices that will do so. I am pleased to announce that the United States will support this effort with both funding and expertise…
Particularly disturbing has been the repeated omission of Israel and Israeli cities in lists of terrorist victims prepared by Obama administration officials connected to the forum. Here’s Clinton at the September 22, 2011, launch in New York: “From London to Lahore, from Madrid to Mumbai, from Kabul to Kampala, it’s innocent civilians who have been targeted.” Here’s Attorney General Eric Holder at the Inaugural Meeting of the GCTF “Criminal Justice/Rule of Law Working Group” on November 3, 2011, in Washington: “All around the world — from New York to London; from Lahore to Madrid; from Mumbai to Abuja — we have seen the devastating effects — and costs — of terrorism.” At the GCTF meeting in June 2012 Clinton’s statement mentions terrorism in only Mali, Somalia, Yemen, Nigeria, the Maghreb, Turkey and “lone-wolf killings” in Europe.
The confusion of the Obama team on the subject of terrorism was also in evidence at the most recent GCTF meeting in July. At that conference, Maria Otero, Obama’s under secretary for civilian security, democracy and human rights highlighted the work of the non-governmental organization “Sisters Against Violent Extremism” (SAVE). This is an NGO which Secretary Clinton also singled out at the “Special Operations Command Gala” on May 23, 2012, in Tampa, Florida. The work of Sisters Against Extremism in the Israeli-Palestinian context is spotlighted in a video which features two grieving women, Israeli Robi Damelin and Palestinian Siham Abu Awwad.
The SAVE video states that Abu Awwad’s “brother was killed by an Israeli settler.” Robi states her son was killed by a Palestinan sniper when serving in the IDF, and she gives this explanation: “He didn’t kill David because he was David. He killed David because he was a symbol of an occupying army.” More specifically, Robi’s son was killed while he worked as an IDF officer at a checkpoint, a constraint which exists for the purpose of preventing terrorism. During the attack by a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade which killed her son, the terrorist also killed six other Israeli soldiers and three civilians. According to films featuring the death of Siham’s brother Youssef, he was “killed by an IDF soldier while trying to cross a check point.”
The moral relativism and twisted perceptions of terrorism that the GCTF will perpetuate, rather than solve, is perhaps simply illustrated by the Obama administration’s choice of a co-chair of the GCTF rule of law working group. The co-chairs are the United States and Egypt. So today, the Muslim Brotherhood is working with the Obama administration on “good practices for effective counterterrorism practice.” While Israel is denied entry.
As Israelis grieve still more acts of terrorism, it is disheartening that the President of the United States is quick to speechify and less ready to take the necessary steps to forever delegitimize terrorists and their enablers.