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28 July 2012

Just One Minute: A Moment of Silence Is Too Much To Ask, But Segregation Is Not?

"My husband’s hands were tied, not yours.”

- Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer

By Benjamin Weinthal

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) flatly rejected a minute of silence at today’s opening ceremony in London to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.

Why exactly is the IOC opposed to a rather modest attempt to commemorate the victims of terror? According to Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, who was murdered by the Palestinian Black September group in 1972, IOC president Jacques Rogge capitulated to the 46-member bloc of Arab and Muslim countries because of the threat of Arab countries to boycott participation in the Games.

Spitzer, who jumpstarted an international campaign to garner a minute of silence at the London games, reported that Rogge told her that “his hands were tied” by the influence of the 46-member group.

Her rejoinder to Rogge: “No, my husband’s hands were tied, not yours.”

Spitzer claims that the IOC balked because 21 Arab delegations are prepared to leave the Games if a public commemoration event took place. Her response to the IOC: “Let them leave if they can’t understand what the Olympics are all about — a connection between people through sport.”

Predictably and unsurprisingly, Jibril Rajoub, head of the Palestinian Football Federation, praised Rogge’s decision in a letter, writing “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.”

Meanwhile, in a case of real ICO-sponsored racism and anti-Semitism, the IOC permitted Lebanon’s Judo team to boycott training alongside the Israeli team. According to the London-based Jewish Chronicle, “Olympic officials were forced to erect a special screen at the Excel venue following a complaint from a member of the Lebanese delegation.”

What is unfolding in London is a mirror-image of the conduct of the United Nations and its organizations seeking to not hurt the” feelings” of Muslim-majority countries. In short, mass cowardice prevails over basic human rights and confronting terrorism.

Moreover, the Obama administration’s ongoing refusal to invite Israel to participate in the U.S.-sponsored Global Counterterrorism Forum is part and parcel of the soggy indifference toward Israel’s security interests, this time at the expense of placating Turkey.

In one of the most insightful commentaries on the failure of left-liberals to tackle pressing human-rights issues, the Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger neatly captured in his May article a new phenomenon. He wrote that “the Liberals and Democrats who work on human-rights issues won’t like to hear this, but with the Obama presidency, human rights has completed its passage away from the political left, across the center and into its home mainly on the right — among neoconservatives and evangelical Christian activists.”

All of this helps to explain why conservatives have played a key role in the call to remember the murdered Israeli athletes and have consistently urged the Obama administration to include Israel in its Global Counterterrorism Forum.

— Benjamin Weinthal is a Berlin-based Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.


How outrageous, anti-semitic, sad and cowardly of the IOC!  Not only the refusal to permit a moment of silence to remember the Israeli athletes killed 40 years ago at the Munich Games, but the capitulation to the Lebanese team's demand to segregate training facilities.  

Apartheid Wall? Lebanese Judo Team Forces Olympic Organizers to Erect Barrier to Block View of Israelis

"They came and they saw us – they didn’t like it and they went to the organisers. They put up some kind of wall between us. Everyone went on and there was no interaction between us."

Would the American team have stayed if whites and blacks were segregated?  

Jesse Owens defies Adolf Hitler, Berlin, 1936

Will there emerge an Israeli Jesse Owens, who will stand over the course of history as a symbol of shame to be branded on the IOC, the UK Olympics organisation and each country that remains in the games for as long as this discrimination, despicable demonstration of unsportsmanlike behaviour, appeasement, and surrender are allowed to stand?  



 An African-American, Jesse Owens, man stands up to Hitler in the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin

 A white German, Luz Long, befriends and advises Jesse Owens in front of Hitler and the world.  Luz Long was drafted into the army and killed in Sicily during World War II, but his courage during the 1936 Games earned him admirers around the world...and still does.

  • In the 1936 Olympics, Luz Long and Jessie Owens directly competed against one another in the long jump competition held in the were direct competitors in the long jump at the 1936 Olympics in Berlin in the Olympiastadion.
  • Since he had "home field advantage," Long gave Owens some advice.  Owens won gold.  Long won silver.
  • Before the entire stadium, including Adolf Hitler, Luz Long embraced Jessie Owens in congratulations on his victory and world record.

  • Both men became friends and maintained a correspondence for years until the outbreak of hostilities between Germany and the United States made that impossible.  Owens continued a relationship with the Long family long after Luz's death in the War.

"It took a lot of courage for him to befriend me in front of Hitler... You can melt down all the medals and cups I have and they wouldn't be a plating on the twenty-four karat friendship that I felt for Luz Long at that moment."

- Jesse Owens

Will we look back on the Games of 2012 with the same sense of utter disgust and revulsion as humanity does at those that Hitler hosted in Berlin in 1936?

Sorry, my fellow Brits, but the Left can "celebrate" the "joys of socialised medicine" until every square millimetre of turf in Merry Old England is covered with big hospital beds, happy nurses, and trampolining, sick children and the scene occupies every television on the planet, but as long as there is a barrier between the Lebanese and Israeli athletes, I will remember these Olympics as a disgrace...yet, another example where my homeland lacked the moral authority and intestinal fortitude to stand up for truth, justice, and fair play.

Since a moment of silence was, evidently, too much to ask in their memomy, honour Moshe Weinberg, Yossef Romano, Ze'ev Friedman, David Berger, Yakov Springer, Eliezer Halfin, Yossef Gutfreund, Kehat Shorr, Mark Slavin, Andre Spitzer, and Amitzur Shapira this way:


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