Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

The Olympics Can’t Spare a Minute for Munich Massacre

May 25, 2012 10:07 am 0 comments

Giant Olympic Rings at St Pancras International station. Photo: wiki commons.

Just one minute! That’s all Israel is asking for. Just one minute of silence at the London Olympics to commemorate the 11 members of the Israeli team murdered by terrorists at the ’72 Munich Olympics. But this simple request has been rejected by the International Olympics Committee (IOC).

In September 1972, eight members of Yasser Arafat’s notorious Black September terror group broke into the athletes village in Munich and attacked the Israelis.

Two of the athletes were immediately killed and nine were taken hostage. They were executed by the Palestinian terrorists after the German police bungled a rescue attempt. All of this was covered by the international media.

Willi Daume, president of the Munich Olympics Organizing Committee requested the IOC to cancel the remainder of the Games as a symbol of respect to the murdered Israelis. But IOC President at that time, Avery Brundage, refused. An American Nazi sympathizer, Brundage, who only a year earlier declared that Hitler’s 1936 Berlin Games were “the finest in modern history” — insisted that “the Games must go on.” And so they did.

The families of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes, led by Ankie Spitzer and Illana Romano (the widows of fencing coach Andre Spitzer and weightlifter Yossef Romano, respectively) have requested a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of each Olympics since the ’76 Montreal Games. Just a minute of silence to convey respect and to promote peace. Each time though, their request has been turned down by the IOC.

This year, which marks the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre, Ankie and Ilana have started an internet petition, noting that a minute of silence “is a fitting tribute for athletes who lost their lives on the Olympic stage. Moreover, [it will] “clearly say to the world that what happened in 1972 can never happen again.”

Ankie’s and Illana’s persistent fight has now been taken up by Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who made a formal request to the IOC to hold a minute’s silence to commemorate the slain Israeli athletes, that will send an unequivocal and public message to the world that the IOC stands against hatred and violence.

This was the first time the Government of Israel has made a formal request to the IOC to hold a minute’s silence to remember and remind the world of the 1972 massacre. But Israel’s request was promptly denied.

In his response to Ayalon last week, IOC President Jacques Rogge justified his rejection, saying that the IOC had already “officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions.” Yet, the record shows that the IOC has never held an official public commemoration.

Rogge adds that “[p]lease rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in 1972 will never fade away” and that the IOC “strongly sympathise with the victims’ families.” His actions, however, show no sympathy and a biased attitude toward Israel.

Only two years ago, during the Vancouver Olympics, the IOC held a public minute of silence during the opening ceremony for Georgian luge racer Nodar Kumaritashvili, who died in a tragic training accident only days prior to the start of the Games. Rogge himself presided over the tribute.

Calling Rogge’s response “very disappointing” and “unacceptable,” Ayalon has refused to let the issue rest and has turned to social media to campaign for the reversal of the IOC decision.

Under the banner “Just One Minute,” Ayalon has released a one minute video — the same amount of time Israel is seeking from the IOC to “stop and remember.” He has also created a facebook page, urged people to sign Spitzer & Romano’s petition and started a twitter trend under the hashtag #justoneminute.

Ayalon’s campaign appears to be gathering public support around the world. In the U.S., House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Ileana Ros-Lehtinen has released a statement, and Congressman Eliot Engel and Congresswoman Nita Lowey have introduced a House Resolution calling on the IOC to commemorate the Munich 11 during the London Games opening ceremony. A similar motion has been filed in the British Parliament.

The eleven athletes were murdered in Munich specifically because they were Israelis. But, the IOC and Jacques Rogge have refused to acknowledge that this was also an assault on the very embodiment of the Olympic spirit — “to building a peaceful and better world by educating young people through sport practiced without discrimination.”

This was not only an Israeli tragedy, but as Danny Ayalon noted, a tragedy “within the family of nations.” Ayalon further argued that keeping a minute of silence to commemorate the slain Israelis is the basic obligation of the Olympic community towards its athletes.

With an official slogan “Inspire a Generation,” one would hope that the inspiration from the London Olympics would lead to less violence and more peace.

The 2012 Olympics will last seventeen days. That is 408 hours and 24,480 minutes. If the IOC is serious about taking a stand against hatred and terrorism and respecting the memory of the slain Israeli athletes, it must incorporate “just one minute” into the opening ceremony.

Follow Arsen Ostrovsky on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@ArsenOstrovsky

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Relationships Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Yossi Vardi Credits Pushy Jewish Mother for His Startup Success

    Millionaire entrepreneur Yossi Vardi credited his success in start-ups to his Jewish mother continuously pushing him to do better, Daily Mail reported on Thursday. “Jewish mothers are never satisfied and nothing is ever good enough,” he said, adding that his mother, who died 15 years ago, used to compare him with his cousins and say he was “an idiot.” “For most of my life I have been trying to show her I’m not,” he continued. “I keep on trying even now.” Vardi, […]

    Read more →
  • Theater US & Canada Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Seth Rogen Unveils New Christmas Movie — ‘Will Open on Thanksgiving, Made by Jews’ (VIDEO)

    Famed actor Seth Rogen on Tuesday unveiled with typical comic fanfare the trailer for his new Christmas film. The movie “was made by Jews… and opens on Thanksgiving,” Rogen pointed out on Twitter. The Night Before tells the tale of three “ride or die homies” celebrating one last debauchery-filled Christmas Eve reunion before they become too busy to keep up their annual tradition. In an effort to make the night as memorable as possible, they set out to find the “Nutcracka Ball – the […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish History Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    Art Can Inspire Faith; It Can Also Empower Destructive Ideologies

    A June 2015 art exhibit, “The Transformative Power of Art,” at the United Nations headquarters in New York City, harnessed the universal language of art to convey an important message: “Our fragile Mother Earth faces the devastating consequences of climate change, a defining challenge of our time.” The exhibit also included sixteen portraits of people from all over the world who have “contributed to the common good of humanity in one way or another and have transformed the way we […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Sports Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    Israeli Muslim Cage Fighter Says He’s Proud to Fight Under Jewish State’s Flag

    A 32-year-old Circassian Israeli Muslim Mixed Martial Arts fighter from Abu Ghosh says he takes pride in fighting under the Israeli flag, Israel’s Walla reported on Sunday. Like most Circassian Israelis, Jackie “the Punishment” Gosh was born Sunni Muslim. He became observant about eight years ago, and is now scrupulous in following his religion’s tenets, praying five times a day and fasting during the holy month of Ramadan. Gosh is also very proud of his Israeli nationality, and sees no contradiction between […]

    Read more →
  • Israel Music New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    New Mark Skinner Documentary Explores Jewish, Arab Rap Scene in Israel (VIDEO)

    A new documentary explores the lives and work of Jewish and Arab rappers in Israel and how the ongoing conflict in the region has impacted their lyrics, the U.K.’s Jewish Chronicle reported on Thursday. Hip Hop in the Holy Land is a six-part series co-directed by Mike Skinner, the British frontman of hip-hop group The Streets, and produced by Noisey, a music channel published by Vice news. The first episode, published last week, shows Skinner meeting with Tamer Nafar, the founder of one of […]

    Read more →
  • Sports US & Canada 49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    49ers Running Back Jarryd Hayne Apologizes for ‘Hurtful’ Jesus Tweets

    New 49ers running back and Australian rugby star Jarryd Hayne apologized on Wednesday for a tweet in which he raised the age-old myth that Jews were historically responsible for Jesus Christ’s death. Reaching out to his Jewish fans, and the chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, Hayne tweeted: “To the Jewish community @DvirAbramovich #WeAreAllOne.” Underneath, he keenly included a screenshot of a text message to elaborate on his apology: “I sincerely apologize for my tweets on July 1. I […]

    Read more →
  • Theater Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Recalls Being ‘Extremely Surprised’ at Winning Miss Israel Contest

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot reminisced about her childhood in Israel during an interview published in this month’s edition of Vanity Fair. “I don’t remember this, but my mom told me that when I was three they threw a party on the rooftop of the house. They put me to bed, and I heard people coming into the house and no one came to me. I went to the rooftop and took a hose and I started to spray water on everyone, just […]

    Read more →
  • Blogs Features Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    Wounded Israeli Soldiers Unite With American Veterans to Help Their ‘Brothers for Life’ Heal (INTERVIEW)

    An Israeli organization is helping wounded U.S. veterans move past their physical and psychological challenges by connecting them with injured Israeli soldiers who understand what they’ve been through. “What we discovered very early is that there’s no ‘professional, psychiatrist, social worker’ or anything like that [or] pills that can come even close to helping a soldier who fought in combat, who was wounded, who lost his friends. No one can help him like another person who’s been through exactly what he has,” Rabbi Chaim Levine, […]

    Read more →