Jewish Journal

Why the Olympics won’t mark the Munich massacre

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 22, 2012 | 11:34 am

Members of the Israeli Olympic delegation stand during a memorial at a monument commemorating the 11 Israelis who were killed at the 1972 Munich Games. Photo by REUTERS/Baz Ratner

The 2012 Olympics, which start next Sunday, will mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre in which 11 Israeli athletes and coaches were murdered by the Black September terrorist group. And yet, there will be no mention of this tragedy, no moment of silence to honor the victims.

Despite pleas from family members of the murdered Israeli athletes and coaches, the International Olympic Committee has repeatedly refused to remember Black September. In a powerful piece for Tablet Deborah Lipstadt, the historian best-known for her work in Holocaust studies, explains why the IOC thinks “Jewish blood is cheap.”

An excerpt:

Why the IOC refusal? The Olympic Committee’s official explanation is that the games are apolitical. The families were repeatedly told by long-time IOC President Juan Samaranch that the Olympic movement avoided political issues. He seemed to have forgotten that at the 1996 opening ceremony he spoke about the Bosnian war. Politics were also present at the 2002 games, which opened with a minute of silence for the victims of 9/11.

The families have also been told that a commemoration of this sort was inappropriate at the opening of such a celebratory event. However, the IOC has memorialized other athletes who died “in the line of duty.” At the 2010 winter games, for example, there was a moment of silence to commemorate an athlete who died in a training accident.

The IOC’s explanation is nothing more than a pathetic excuse. The athletes who were murdered were from Israel and were Jews—that is why they aren’t being remembered. The only conclusion one can draw is that Jewish blood is cheap, too cheap to risk upsetting a bloc of Arab nations and other countries that oppose Israel and its policies.

Read the rest here. Relatedly, Israel is worried about an anniversary attack at the London Games.

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