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IOC Adds Insult to Injury: Widows ‘Get’ their Minute of Silence 4 Days Too Soon


International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge on Monday went ahead and paid tribute to the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed in Munich 40 years ago. According to the AP, Rogge lead a “solemn minute of silence in the athletes village.”

Indeed, the AP story eagerly noted that it was “the first time the IOC has honored the slain Israelis in a ceremony inside an Olympic village.”

It’s difficult to articulate just how insulting and callused this empty gesture on the part of the IOC and its president has been.

Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, widows of slain Israeli athletes whose murder and the murders of their teammates have gone unacknowledged for forty years, have been pleading for months now, along with thousands upon thousands who have signed their petition, for the officials at the helm of IOC to act human, to tell the world, just as it is getting together to celebrate the best that humanity has to offer: When athletes are slaughtered in broad day light in the middle of the Olympic games it is a horrible things which we will never forget and never forgive.

Instead, four days before the actual opening ceremony, President Rogge threw these widows a bone.

For months Rogge has rejected calls to hold a moment of silence during Friday’s opening ceremony of the London Games. He kept saying as late as this past Saturday that the opening was not the “appropriate place” to remember the Israeli team members killed by Palestinian gunmen in Munich during the 1972 Olympics.

“We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Rogge said on Saturday.

Perhaps he would have gone for 30 seconds of silence?

I suggest Monday, July 23, 2012, will go down in the annals of Olympic history as Throw the Widow a Bone Day, or simply Bone Day.

On Monday, Rogge strolled over to the Olympic village in London, and in the midst of a quickly assembled crowd of officials, reporters and photographers, announced:

“I would like to start today’s ceremony by honoring the memory of the 11 Israeli Olympians who shared the ideals that have brought us together in this beautiful Olympic Village. The 11 victims of the Munich tragedy believed in that vision. “They came to Munich in the spirit of peace and solidarity. We owe it to them to keep the spirit alive and to remember them.”

And then, like a scene from a Fellini film, President Jacques Rogge bowed his head, and a crowd of 100 IOC executive board members, dignitaries and Olympic athletes and officials stood in silence for a minute.

For absolutely no one and nothing.

Four days before the thing began. Four days before the wonderful statement would have made an actual difference to the millions of viewers across the planet, across the Middle east, where those cowardly murderers were raised and where their crime was designed and financed. In short, four days before these words would require an actual man to say them.

“As the events of 40 years ago remind us, sport is not immune from and cannot cure all the ills of the world,” Rogge said.

Oh, wiser words have not been said by a heartless bureaucrat in some time.

Incidentally, Rogge and the IOC will also honor the murdered Israeli athletes at a private reception in London on Aug. 6.

The IOC will also take part in a ceremony in Germany on the anniversary of the attack on Sept. 5 at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck where most of the Israelis were killed.

Then, in March, in a small café in Rome, Rogge and a group of friends will be waiting in silence for their lunch, which should also count for something. In fact, right now, I’ll bet many IOC are sitting in their offices doing stuff while being absolutely silent.

Just as long as it’s not on Friday night at the opening ceremony, because, let’s face it, it can put a damper on the whole humanity happiness thing.

About the Author: Yori Yanover has been a working journalist since age 17, before he enlisted and worked for Ba'Machane Nachal. Since then he has worked for Israel Shelanu, the US supplement of Yedioth, JCN18.com, USAJewish.com, Lubavitch News Service, Arutz 7 (as DJ on the high seas), and the Grand Street News. He has published Dancing and Crying, a colorful and intimate portrait of the last two years in the life of the late Lubavitch Rebbe, (in Hebrew), and two fun books in English: The Cabalist's Daughter: A Novel of Practical Messianic Redemption, and How Would God REALLY Vote.


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5 Responses to “IOC Adds Insult to Injury: Widows ‘Get’ their Minute of Silence 4 Days Too Soon”

  1. How callous can he be. This was not a public moment; ths was a unannounced behind closed doors mockery. The French man knows honor almost as well as bravery in wartime. This disgusts me.

  2. Robert Soran von Grosswardein says:

    What an idiotic, inflamatory and – in the end – ethno-racist opinion! Shame on you, Yori Yanover, shame on you!

  3. Yori Yanover is brave and courageous.. Only cowards hide from the facts. The murders that occurred should be remembered during the Olympics as they are now a fact on the ground of Olympic history. Respect the truth = respect for G-d.
    But murderers and their supporters cant possibly believe in a higher power of any faith. Remember Jonah? G-d sees; G-d knows.

  4. Anya Khan says:

    Robert VnGoebels You are one sick MF

  5. Janet Clifford says:

    Shame on you, how dare you call this inflammatory? The (IOC) dedicated the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in Vancouver to the memory of the Georgian athlete Nodar Kumaritashvili. He was killed in an accident while training, and the crowd rose as the Georgian team entered the arena with their national flag draped in black.

    If the IOC was prepared to do the right thing then, why not now? Why has it turned down repeated requests by the British Government, the London Assembly and many other organisations and individuals worldwide to hold one minute's silence in the London opening ceremony to honour the memory of the 11 athletes who were murdered by terrorists at the Munich Olympics in 1972?

    One can only assume the IOC places a higher value on the death of one Georgian killed in training than it does on 11 Israelis murdered by terrorists.

    That was a disgusting comment from Robert.

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