The Celebrate Israel Festival on May 31 at Pier 94, slated to be the largest gathering to date of Israeli-Americans in New York.
For months, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge has dismissed calls for a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of eleven Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.
On Monday, in advance of this Friday’s opening ceremony, Mr. Rogge did preside over a previously unannounced tribute attended by several Olympic administrative officials.
But not only was this an insult to the memory of the slain Israelis, it underscored Mr. Rogge’s utter failure to grasp that the murders were not only about the Israeli victims but about the Olympics itself.
Since the days of ancient Greece, the Olympics have been characterized by a general truce that interrupted whatever wars were being fought at the time. This was to enable athletes and visitors to travel unimpeded to the games and ensure that the games themselves would be conducted free of violence. We don’t always have good things to say about UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, but a statement he released last week put it best:
The tradition of an Olympic truce began in ancient times to allow safe passage for athletes traveling to the games. This resulted in an environment where the true spirit of the Olympic Games was on display: peaceful competition among nations, feats of individual excellence.
Today, sports and events such as the Olympic and Paralympic games break down barriers by bringing together people from all around the world and all walks of life. The participants may carry the flags of many nations, but they come together under the shared banner of equality and fair play, understanding and mutual respect.
We give meaning to these values through the Olympic truce, the call for warring parties everywhere to lay down their weapons during the games. These pauses in fighting save lives. They help humanitarian workers reach people in need. And they opened diplomatic space to negotiate lasting solutions.
The Olympic truce – and more broadly the Olympic ideal – carries a powerful message: that people and nations can set aside their differences and live and work together in harmony. And if they can do it for one day, over one event, they can do it forever. This is the dream on which the United Nations is built, and the goal of our daily work.
I call on all those engaged in hostilities to respect the Truce – which has been endorsed by all 193 UN member states. This is an uphill battle – but we must persist in proclaiming the Truce and do our utmost to win adherence to it. For these next few weeks may the torch of the Olympic and Paralympic games in London serve as a beacon of peace around the world.
Consider what happened in Munich on September 5, 1972, the 11th day of the Olympiad. At 4:30 a.m., several Palestinian terrorists made their way past security and, armed with hand grenades and Kalashnikovs, entered two Israeli team apartments. They killed two Israelis and took nine hostage. The hostages were later killed by the terrorists in the course of a failed rescue effort.
The massacre clearly struck at the essence of the Olympic concept. So why would Mr. Rogge and the IOC resist marking this enormous negation of it? There were various reasons given that revolved around the notion that the games are “apolitical” and that every effort is made to avoid “political issues” and embarrassing participating (i.e., Arab) states.
Political issues? Noting the cold-blooded murder of eleven human beings is a political statement? That only follows if the murders themselves were deemed political statements. Is that Mr. Rogge’s point after all?
In a sense this reminds us of the recent meeting between Prime Minister Netanyahu and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The secretary was pitching a resumption of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and among other things was urging Mr. Netanyahu to meet PA President Mahmoud Abbas’s demand that Palestinians incarcerated in Israeli jails for terrorist acts committed prior to the Oslo Accords be released. The theory seems to be that before Oslo, the murder of Jews was properly viewed as an act of resistance by a freedom fighter. Post-Oslo, however, such a form of resistance was criminalized.
It is bad enough that Israel is being pressured to deal with a person of Mr. Abbas’s ilk who thinks that way. How is it, though, that an American secretary of state can embrace this distinction?
Mr. Rogge’s scaled down commemoration is not only a non-event, it is a profound insult. And so is Hillary Clinton’s touting Mr. Abbas’s obscene distinction.
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The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR
Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.
U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.
During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai
20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse
Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise
Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting
She credited success to “mini” decisions-Small choices building on each other leading to big changes
Shavuot 1915, 200000 Jews were expelled; amongst the largest single expulsions since Roman times
Realizing there was no US military threat, Iran resumed, expanded & accelerated its nuclear program
“Enlightened Jews” who refuse to show chareidim the tolerance they insist we give to Arabs sicken me
Somewhat surprisingly, the Vatican’s unwelcome gesture was diametrically at odds with what President Obama signaled in an interview with the news outlet Al Arabiya.
The recent solid victory of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party produced something very different.
The reaction is so strong that nine times out of ten, parents engage in some form of coping mechanism before arriving at a level of acceptance of a special-needs diagnosis.
“Let’s get something straight so we don’t kid each other…[the Iranians] already have paved a path to a bomb’s worth of material,” said Mr. Biden. “Iran could get there now if they walked away in two to three months without a deal.”
The president is unwilling to cede any of what he considers his exclusive powers in the area of foreign policy and has struggled mightily to keep the Senate away from any role in the kind of deal to be negotiated.
A committed Religious Zionist, he was a sought-after adviser on Zionist affairs around the world.
More important, Mr. Obama is simply acceding to Iran’s position on the timing of the lifting of sanctions.
For our community, Mrs. Clinton’s foreign policy record will doubtless attract the most attention. And it is a most interesting one.
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