[Editor’s note: As you’ll understand by reading the post, the title is not at all meant as a show of disrespect to those who fought, and are still fighting, for a Minute of Silence at the 2012 Olympics, for the Israeli athletes murdered at the Munich Games in 1972. Indeed, the author’s intent is quite the opposite. – A.L.]
Forty years ago in Munich, a group of Black September terrorists perpetrated the most heinous act in the history of the Olympics. When the dust settled 11 members of the Israeli Olympic delegation lay dead. I can’t even begin to count how many prominent Jews and Jewish organizations have called on the International Olympic Committee to observe a moment of silence in honor of the fallen Olympians. IOC President Jacques Rogge has been steadfast in his refusal to do so, stating that doing this during the opening ceremonies of the 2012 London Olympics would be “inappropriate.”
It wasn’t inappropriate to have a moment of silence at the Vancouver Winter Olympics two years ago in honor of Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili, a luger who died in a training accident. It wasn’t inappropriate ten years ago during the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, to parade a 9-11 flag during the opening ceremonies in honor of the victims of the World Trade Center Bombing. But somehow, a miniscule 60 second pause in the festivities is too much to ask for.
Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, sent a letter this week to Rogge thanking him for his refusal to allow a moment of silence. Rajoud declared “Sports is a bridge for love, connection and relaying peace between peoples. It should not be a factor for separation and spreading racism between peoples…” That’s right. Honoring the Israeli athletes would have been an act of racism. At least according to Rajoub.
The thing is though, I don’t want to condemn these people. I want to thank them.
See, I don’t need a stupid minute to commemorate the heinous act of cowardice that took the lives of Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Ze’ev Friedman, David Berger, Yakov Springer, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Gutfreund, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer and Amitzur Shapira.
I mean what was the takeaway from the Munich massacre? During the crisis, other Olympic athletes were seen sunbathing and playing ping pong. After the athletes were killed, the games were temporarily suspended and a commemorative ceremony was held. All flags were at half mast, but when 10 Arab countries objected, their flags were almost immediately raised back up to the top. A few months after the massacre, a Lufthansa Jumbo Jet containing only 12 passengers and crew, all male, was hijacked and the hijackers demanded the release of the two surviving Black September terrorists. The German government, who it turns out was complicit in this farce, immediately released Mohammed Safady and Adnan Al-Gashey who received a heroes welcome upon their arrival in Libya.
So what was the takeaway? The answer is simple. Jewish life is cheap.
When people are killed because they are Jewish or Israeli, no one cares. In refusing to spare a minute to commemorate the victims of the Munich massacre, IOC President Jacques Rogge simply but effectively reminds us of this fact and thus adds another to a long list of affronts to the Jewish people.
Thanks Jacques! Thanks International Olympic Committee! Thanks London 2012!
Tonight when you all are celebrating the Olympic spirit, and Jews continue to clamor for recognition of their dead, I’ll be in Jerusalem, enjoying Shabbat dinner with friends and loved ones. That’s the best way for me to commemorate our fallen, that’s the best “f… you’ I can think of.
- Info on events to commemorate Israeli athletes murdered at ’72 Munich Olympics #justoneminute (cifwatch.com)
- Olympic Committee spurning of memory of murdered Israeli athletes is no suprise (cifwatch.com)
- Can you find the glaring omissions in Guardian story on IOC ceremony for Munich victims? (cifwatch.com)