Daniel Mael

Even President Mahmoud Abbas of the Palestinian Authority -- whose government still provides financial assistance to terrorists -- has condemned the kidnappings. Additionally, the United Nations Human Rights Council, which consistently condemns Israel for contrived crimes and phony offenses, allowed testimony to be heard from Naftali’s mother on the morning of June 24th.

Yet, we have been silent. As Americans, this is an embarrassment. Though perhaps we should have seen this coming, as the president, in the words of Rep. Matt Salmon (R-Ariz.), hasn’t lifted a finger” to help Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi who has been sitting in a Mexican jail since April 1st.

President Obama’s curious reticence on this issue contradicts a precedent he has created of inserting himself into stories throughout his presidency. Both domestically and abroad, the president has never been one for silence. Yet when it comes to the kidnapping of an American citizen, Obama has been hush.

Just in May, Obama claimed that the "Global War on Terror,” was over and asked that the United States direct its efforts “as a series of persistent, targeted efforts to dismantle specific networks of violent extremists that threaten America.” An American held hostage certainly fits the category of violent extremism.

And on perhaps an even more problematic level, the White House OK’d funding to the very terrorists who kidnapped Frenkel. In the days before the kidnapping,the White House was under fire for its insistence to continue aid to the newly formed Palestinian “unity government” -- $400 million a year to be precise.

The legality of this decision is cloudy as well. United States law officially bans “providing material support or resources to designated foreign terrorist organizations.”

Now, not only is the United States effectively funding a terrorist organization, but it is funding an organization that abducted an American citizen. Silence can be merely injudicious. But complicity is unforgivable.

Unfortunately, the president’s prior decision making with regards to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has virtually handcuffed him on this issue. As my colleague Paul Miller of the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity highlighted in Wednesday’s Washington Times, “....the administration is putting U.S. tax dollars in the pockets of terrorists. This makes the American taxpayer an unwilling co-conspirator to terrorism.”

A public condemnation of the hostage situation would bring further attention to the issue. Unwanted coverage would lead to yet another political embarrassment. As if Benghazi, the IRS and the administrations failures in Syria and Iraq weren’t enough.

But then again, it’s easier to dismiss this issue as just another “phony scandal” or simply say nothing at all.


Daniel Mael

Daniel Mael is a student at Brandeis University and a contributor to the Franklin Center for Government & Public Integrity and TruthRevolt.org.