Let’s say a gang of terrorists or drug lords or something broke into an American dorm full of Olympic athletes, kidnapped and murdered them.
Do you think there is any way the event would move forward without a public tribute being made a permanent part of the proceedings?
But after 40 years of trying to get the International Olympic Committee to do the descent thing and hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in Munich in 1972, that body has officially rejected that idea.
The committee says it’s “paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions,” and that “Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
But, for some reason, such tributes are paid only peripherally and have never been made part of the Olympic tradition, as it should be, and as I believe it would have been by now if the victims had been anyone other than Israeli Jews.
The request for the moment of silence at the opening ceremonies was initiated by the families of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches murdered at the 1972 Games in Germany by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
Israel’s deputy foreign minister Danny Ayalon, who made the official request last month, expressed well why Olympics official’s response sends the wrong message to the world in general and terrorists types in particular.
“Unfortunately, this response is unacceptable as it rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest,” Ayalon reportedly said. “The terrorist murders of the Israeli athletes were not just an attack on people because of their nationality and religion; it was an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community. Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”
And had it been “just” an attack on Jews because they were Jews, using the Olympics as a weapon, the same principal would apply.
The Israel National Olympic Committee will hold its own memorial ceremony during the Games, as it has at every Olympics, the story notes, and IOC representatives promise to be there, but it’s not good enough. This should matter to everybody, not just Israel and the Jews.
I still smart from the fact that the games in 1972 went on as usual, despite the massacre of almost a dozen unarmed young Jewish athletes who were there, like everyone else, to be part of the brotherhood of man.
Israel regularly requests a moment of silence at the Olympics and the IOC has consistently turned it down, A.P. reports.
The American Jewish Committee called on the IOC to reconsider its rejection, but, I’m afraid, this again will fall on deaf and possibly anti-Semitic ears.
“The 40th anniversary of that tragedy is a perfect opportunity for the Olympics to properly honor the memory of those innocent Israelis” AJC Executive Director David Harris reportedly said. “The IOC refusal to hold a moment of silence during the London Games opening ceremony, which will be watched worldwide, is simply shameful.”
U.S. Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, both New York Democrats, and the Anti-Defamation League in recent weeks also had called on the IOC in letters to approve the moment of silence, A.P. reports.
The Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, N.Y., a member of the JCC Association, and Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing Coach Andrei Spitzer, initiated an online petition in mid-April seeking a moment of silence at the London Games that has garnered some 38,000 signatures from around the world, reports note.
“The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games,” Spitzer wrote in a letter accompanying the petition.
Clearly, having just Jews, no matter how highly placed, request or demand the IOC do the right thing, is not sufficient. There must be world leaders and important people and others worldwide – Gentile ones – who recognize an injustice when they see one and are willing to act to rectify it.
Having Israel boycott the games would only help accomplish the terrorists’ goals.
Maybe some of those huge international companies planning on supporting the London Olympics with advertising might consider withdrawing that support unless the IOC changes its mind. Maybe regular viewers can make it known that they plan to go out of their way to not buy whatever advertisers are selling if they don’t pressure the IOC to officially recognize the murdered Israeli athletes.
With calls for boycott and divestment of Jewish and Israeli firms going on worldwide, maybe we can take a page from that playbook and use it for a good cause.
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