Omitted Israel in 2008 speech
The Zionist Organization of America (ZOA) is shocked and appalled that President Obama once again omitted Israel in his list of countries suffering from terrorist attacks. In the talking points issued by the Obama Administration for the forthcoming tenth anniversary of the Al-Qaeda September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, D.C, Israel is ignored as one of the targets of terrorism.
In the talking points provided by officials in several government agencies to the New York Times, the following statement appears, As we commemorate the citizens of over 90 countries who perished in the 9/11 attacks, we honor all victims of terrorism, in every nation around the world We honor and celebrate the resilience of individuals, families, and communities on every continent, whether in New York or Nairobi, Bali or Belfast, Mumbai or Manila, or Lahore or London (Thom Shanker & Eric Schmitt, White House Issues Guides on Sept. 11 Observances, New York Times, August 29, 2011).
This is not the first time that President Barack Obama has omitted mention of Israel as a target of terrorist groups. When running for President, then-Senator Obama said in his Berlin speech, we can join in a new and global partnership to dismantle the networks that have struck in Madrid and Amman; in London and Bali; in Washington and New York (Obama Speech Transcript: Remarks of Senator Barack Obama (as prepared for delivery) A World that Stands as One, Berlin, Germany, July 24, 2008).
Also, President Obama conspicuously omitted mention of Israels extraordinary contribution to relief efforts in the wake of Haitis terrible January 2010 earthquake. Although Israels relief efforts were exceptional, only matched by those of the United States, and were in fact singled out for praise by former President Bill Clinton, President Obama omitted any mention of Israel, saying instead that help continues to flow in, not just from the United States but from Brazil, Mexico, Canada, France, Colombia, and the Dominican Republic, among others (President Obama’s Remarks After His Call with Haitian President Préval, White House Blog, January 15, 2010).
ZOA Board Chairman Dr. Michael Goldblatt said, The ZOA is appalled that President Obama refuses to include Israel as a country that has suffered from Islamic terrorism. He cites country after country that has endured far less terrorism than Israel. This is the third time President Obama has ignored Israel in an important citation. It seems impossible to believe that this could be anything less than intentional.
Israel has been a primary target of Islamist and Arab terrorist organizations for decades, with special intensity in the past eleven years. Almost 2,000 Israelis have been murdered by terrorists in this period and over 10,000 more wounded and maimed. Eight more Israelis were murdered only last week in a terrorist missile attack. In fact, in per capita terms, far more Israelis have been murdered by terrorists than Americans were murdered in 9/11. The scenes of repeated terrorist carnage on Israeli streets are, tragically, all too familiar to all of us. It is therefore hard to believe that President Obamas omission of an Israeli city when referring to cities around the world that have been targeted by terrorists in recent years was coincidental, especially when he has omitted mention of Israel in comparable contexts in the past.
As we saw in the earlier examples cited, President Obama will avoid mentioning Israel in a favorable or sympathetic context even when such an omission is glaring. Sadly, it would seem that President Obama is willing to exclude Israel from the common concern of mankind in confronting and memorializing the terrorism of which he speaks. Worse, such omission implies that those who murder and maim Israelis are not really terrorists. We urge President Obama to publicly explain this omission and correct it.