The IOC Pulls a Fast One on Munich Families
Israeli Ilana Romano, widow of an Israeli Olympian Yossef Romano killed by Palestinian Terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972
In college someone once told me that he who seeks to sit on both sides of the fence ruptures himself. The International Olympic Committee is seeking to do just that, as on Monday they held a hastily prepared ‘Surprise’ Memorial for the victims of the 1972 Munich Massacre.
On the one hand, it was the first time EVER that the cowardly committee publicly acknowledged the memory of the eleven Israelis who were murdered by Palestinian terrorists in cold blood in an Olympic village. On the other hand, it happened so quickly that I doubt any of the widows or children of the victims were in attendance.
In another bizarre twist, “Following the ceremony London Mayor Johnson pumped his fist and said ‘Great speech.’”[i] I think that would be equivalent to high-fiving someone after a eulogy.
This hastily arranged, under promoted, secret memorial (lest Arab nations be offended that the murdered Israelis were honored) would not have happened at all were it not for the international pressure that has been mounted upon the IOC in recent months. It all started when Danny Ayalon, Israel’s deputy foreign minister, began to tweet that people needed to call upon the IOC to have a moment of silence, in order to remember the Munich Eleven.
On April 23rd, Ayalon sent this letter to the IOC asking for a minute of silence during this year’s Olympic games, marking the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre. Ayalon’s gesture was rejected. Mounting pressure continued, and even President Obama and Governor Romney called upon the IOC to give in.
I do understand the position of the IOC. There are one billion Arabs in the world. Many of the presidents/kings/dictators of these nations look at the Palestinian terrorists who carried out the crime as heroes. As we reported previously the bodies were buried in Libya with full military honors and the three surviving terrorists were delivered as heroes to Libya (in a staged hijacking of a Lufthansa passenger jet).
too late! already political
The IOC doesn’t want to politicize the Olympics. But they already were when the Israelis were killed. You can’t make believe that Moshe Weinberg (wrestling coach) and Yossef Romano (weightlifter) were not murdered in the initial attack as they sought to protect other athletes by political terrorists. Or that a carefully placed grenade by one of the Black September members did not end the lives of Ze’ev Friedman (weightlifter), David Berger (weightlifter), Yakov Springer (weightlifting judge) and Eliezer Halfin (wrestler).
You can’t pretend that bullets from the gun of a militant savage did not rip through the bodies of Yossef Gutfreund (wrestling referee), Kehat Shorr (shooting coach), Mark Slavin (wrestler), Andre Spitzer (fencing coach) and Amitzur Shapira (track coach).
Hence, a brief, hastily prepared ceremony was arranged earlier this week. “Not enough,” was the response of Munich Massacre widows Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano. They met with IOC President Jacques Rogge where they presented him with their online petition of 107,000 signatures. Their request was once again denied.
They didn’t mince words in response to the denial:
“We are outraged by the denial of the request, which comes not only from us but from so many people around the world,” Spitzer said in a statement. “Our husbands were murdered at the Olympics in Munich. To observe a minute of silence in their memory would let the world know where the IOC stands in the fight against terrorism. President Rogge’s callous disregard for what he certainly knows is right is a severe blow to the Olympic ideals.”[ii]
In the past, the IOC President has told Ankie Spitzer that his hands are tied. Her response:
“Your hands are not tied. My husband’s hands were tied. So were his feet, when he was murdered. That was having your hands tied.”[iii]
Bob Costas, one of the better known sportscasters in America was dumbfounded by the IOC’s decision and plans to do something about it.
“I intend to note that the IOC denied the request…Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.”
Costas intends to acknowledge the Munich Massacre when the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000 seat stadium.
Note of Footnote: His comments were made and maybe contributed to the IOC’s impromptu ceremony on Monday. It is not clear if Costas still plans to point out the IOC’s lack of courage, but we sure hope so.
[i] IOC holds surprise Munich massacre commemoration, By KAROLOS GROHMANN, July 23, 2012
[ii] Munich Widows’ Request for Moment of Silence Is Turned Down, JOANNE C. GERSTNER, July 25, 2012