The horror of seeing another bus filled with Jews blown up, this time in the Burgas Airport in Bulgaria was a reminder that as far as Israel has come, there are still plenty of people trying to kill civilians who were only trying to enjoy the pleasures of a vacation. The suicide bomber or the remote control explosive luggage or both on the bus in Bulgaria signaled again how vulnerable Israel remains to the whims and fancies of its enemies. As Deborah E. Lipstadt had written so poignantly in her piece on Tuesday in Tablet on the failure of the IOC to have a moment of silence at the London Games in memory of the 40th anniversary of the murder of Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Games, “Jewish Blood is Still Cheap.”
In reviewing the descriptions which poured out from Burgas, I had very troubling reaction to this tragedy which had been percolating for a while. Israel is the one country whose citizens have been exposed to random suicide bombings and terrorists’ attacks since its inception 64 years ago. It has ceased for periods of time only to begin all over again. The list of the grotesque number of attacks against schools, buses, pizza shops, wedding halls, social clubs, etc. is extremely depressing as it reflective of how strong is the character of the Israeli people to overcome them. How is it that the international community can actually create an international commission to address global terrorism and exclude the country which has suffered—and continues to suffer-- the most from it!
The Global Counter-terrorism Forum was launched on September 22, 2011, by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The first meeting was convened in Istanbul on June 7, 2012 with 29 countries in attendance, but not Israel. On July 9 in Madrid, the Global Counter-terrorism Forum’s High-Level Conference on Victims of Terrorism was held, once again without Israel’s attendance. While there remains a tense relationship between Turkey and Israel, and there were several Arab countries participating in the Forum, Israel had been assured by the U.S. that a way would be found to include Israel. Not only has that not happened but Israel was not even mentioned as a country which suffered from terrorist attacks. In her opening remarks in Madrid, Maria Otero, US undersecretary of state for civilian security, democracy and human rights representing the State Department and Secretary Clinton also made no reference to Israel.
While there are certainly very sensitive issues that the U.S. is seeking to negotiate with some of the Arab countries and Israel does need to defuse the continuing tension with Turkey, something here does not make sense. The Administration is permitting the wrong countries to determine the human rights issues on the one hand and to permit some countries which actually harbor terrorists sit on counter-terrorism forum while excluding the country that has suffered the most from it. Only further proof that Jewish blood is cheap!