|Leaders pose for official event photo at Global Counterterrorism Forum in Istanbul, Turkey on June 7, 2012. |
No Israelis were present. [State Department photo by Aydan Yurdakul/ Public Domain]
Spain's former prime minister between 1996 and 2004, Jose Maria Aznar, is himself personally a victim of terror who came close to losing his life at the hands of Basque terrorists in his homeland. We met and spoke at a terror victim conference in Bogota, Colombia in 2005. He shared some insightful observations with us then.
This week, in the run-down to Friday's launch of the London Olympics, Aznar published an important article in The Times of London under the title "How Dare the World Shun Israel on Terrorism". Elder of Ziyon has the full text on his blogsite. Some bullet quotations:
- As a terrorism victim myself, who was fortunate to survive a car-bomb attack, I cannot understand or justify the marginalization of other terrorist victims just for political reasons.
- Even in the most difficult times, I have always believed that weakness and appeasement are the wrong choices. Terrorism is not a natural phenomenon; it doesn't happen spontaneously; its not something ethereal. It can and must be fought using all the tools provided by the law and democracy - and most importantly, it can be defeated if there is the will to defeat it.
- Israel's ordeal is far from insignificant. Israel has much to contribute in this area and everyone else has a lot to learn if we really want to defeat the terrorists. Isolation not only renders Israel weaker against its enemies, but also makes all Westerners weaker.
- When we are about to mark the 40th anniversary of the terrorist attacks at the Olympic Village in Munich, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists, it is a real paradox to see Israel excluded from the first meeting of the Global Counter-terrorism Forum [background here] last month in Istanbul. Worse still, in July, the forum organized its first victims-of-terrorism meeting. Israel was excluded.
- When we see deadly terrorist attacks, such as the recent one in Bulgaria, targeting tourists simply because they were Israeli, the marginalization of Israel is totally unacceptable.
- If we extrapolate Israel's experience of slaughter to Britain, it would mean that in the past 12 years about 11,000 British citizens would have died and 60,000 would have been injured in terrorist attacks. In the case of the U.S., the figures would be 65,000 dead and 300,000 injured.
- Israel is not the problem; it is part of the solution. We will become the problem if we continue to cold-shoulder Israel, the country most affected by terrorism and, possibly, the one that knows best how to defeat it.