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October 26, 2014 / 2 Heshvan, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘IOC’

Members of Congress to Hold Moment of Silence for Munich 11

Thursday, July 26th, 2012

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives will hold a moment of silence for the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches slain by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“We’re going to give one-minute speeches on the House floor and devote a substantial moment of that to silence on Thursday,” Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) said in a conference call with the media on Wednesday. Following that, he and Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) will lead a group of lawmakers to the Capital grounds for another moment of silence.

Engel and Lowey are cosponsors of a bill calling on the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence for the Israelis during Friday evening’s opening ceremonies of the London Games. The bill unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but a vote has yet to be scheduled by the full body. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution.

“On Friday, millions of people around the world will tune in to the Olympics opening ceremony,” Lowey said. “A minute of silence would be a reminder that we must be constantly vigilant against prejudice, hate and intolerance, and it would pay tribute to the Munich 11 and their families.”

President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, along with several governments around the world, have joined the call for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies, but the IOC has rejected the request.

“For them not to do a moment of silence, that’s being political because frankly they’re afraid of offending some of the Arab nations,” Engel said, adding later that “If you have this fiction of fraternal bonds and commonality of feeling, then it’s appropriate for the IOC to act without any politics whatsoever. The only reason they haven’t done this in 40 years is because it’s Israeli athletes, and that makes it even more disgraceful.”

Rep. Ted Deutsch (D-Fla.) added on the call, “There is still time for the world to honor these athletes and to unite against terrorism. We can’t allow the 40th anniversary of their murder to pass by, and we can’t allow it to be overshadowed by geopolitics.”

In the past, Olympics officials have attended private Israeli or Jewish ceremonies marking the tragedy, but other than the day after the murders themselves, the IOC has not held a commemoration during the Games for the Munich victims. There was a brief mention of the killings at the close of the 1996 Atlanta Olympics when then-IOC head Juan Antonio Samaranch called for a moment of silence for the victims of a bombing during those Games as well as the slain Israelis.

Global Minute of Silence to Be Held on Day of Olympic Opening Ceremony

Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

There Will Be a ‘Minute for Munich’ on Friday.

The British Zionist Federation has decided to ask people to join them in commemoration of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. The worldwide event will take place at  at 11 AM London time (1 PM Jerusalem, 6 AM New York) on the morning of the opening ceremony, Friday, July 27. This measure follows the International Olympic Committee’s decision not to have a minute of silence in the opening ceremony of the London Olympics on the same Friday.

“As you are aware, there have been a number of campaigns urging the IOC to hold a minutes’ silence during the Opening Ceremony of the London Olympics,” begins BZF Executive Director Alan Aziz’s announcement on their website. “Unfortunately the IOC has decided against this commemoration. So, The Zionist Federationis inviting you to join us in remembering the 11 murdered Israeli Athletes.”

The plan, according to Aziz, will go as follows: “On the morning of the Opening Ceremony, we are asking people everywhere to stop for one minute and stand in silence as a personal tribute to those who lost their lives in the 1972 Munich Massacre. Wherever you may be and whatever you may be doing, please join us and stand in silence for one minute in silence as we remember.”

The BZF will also be holding a short memorial service that will be streamed live via a webcast from 10.45 AM and will a memorial prayer and the lighting of candles in the presence of Israel’s Ambassador to Britain, Daniel Taub. Visitors will be able to view this at www.zionist.org.uk

If you are part of an organization, Aziz is asking you to email minutesilence@zfuk.org to see how you can get involved.

A Facebook page has been set up for this event and can be found by typing in ‘Minute for Munich’ into the search box on Facebook.

Alan Aziz told EJP: “We believe it is wrong that the IOC refuses to commemorate the Munich massacre at the opening ceremony. We must not let people forget and the groundswell of support that our campaign has received has demonstrated that not only do people remember the horrific events of Munich, but they also understand the importance of remembering it and the innocent victims of that fateful day.”

He added: “Let us celebrate the Olympic Games as it brings the world together as a family, but don’t let it forget those it has lost.”

The Moment of Silence Revisited

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

http://haemtza.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/a-moment-of-silence-at-olympics.html

A while back I expressed my doubts about whether a moment of silence at the Summer Olympics was worth all the angst being expressed about it by our own community. I felt then as I do now that there are a lot more important things to concern ourselves with than this.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to not hold a moment of silence on the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre of 11 Israeli athletes may have been a poor decision – but it was theirs to make and not particularly anti-Semitic.  Appeals to reconsider led by Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain Olympic athlete, Andre Spitzer have thus far been unsuccessful.

I recall being just about a lone voice for this perspective. I nevertheless still feel that we ought not make a big deal about something that makes us appear as though we are being paranoid… that the only reason the IOC does not want to hold a moment of silence is because it is for Jews and that had this massacre happened to athletes from any other country there surely would be a moment of silence. I do not happen to believe that.

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t admire non-Jews for picking up the cause. I therefore have to admire Bob Costas. From The JewishPress:

One of the best known sportscasters in America may soon make history by defying the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decree that it would not honor the memory of the murdered 1972 Israeli Olympic team, and conducting an on-air memorial of his own.

Bob Costas, famed NBC sportscaster and regular frontline broadcaster of the Olympic games, told The Hollywood Reporter that he would not stand behind the IOC’s “baffling” decision to deny Israel’s request for a moment of silence to acknowledge the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany, and that he would take it upon himself to highlight the injustice during his broadcast of the London games opening ceremonies on July 27.

If officials of the Olympics continue to refuse to honor the victims with a moment of silence, Costas says “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive.  [So] Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Costas intends to take his stand for the slain Olympians as the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

I don’t know how many people will be watching the Olympics via NBC’s broadcast. But I suspect it is among the most watched events on broadcast TV. And the opening ceremonies is the most watched part of it. Bob Costas is not Jewish. But he does represent the American spirit.

Americans are a people who care about their fellow man. When they see a group being slighted, they will stand up and say so… and ‘call out’ those who have done so. This is what Bob Costas has done. My hat is certainly off to him.

This is yet another example of why I love this country so much. They truly are a Medinah Shel Chesed…  a country of generous spirit whose credo of tolerance is more than just words.

It seems that in this instance Americans are not alone. 100,000 signatures from all over the country were collected on Change.org  supporting that moment of silence. And 140 members of the Italian parliament signed a letter urging the IOC to have a moment of silence.  Even the President is on board with this, saying through a spokesman, “We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich.”

It is being reported that full page ads will be placed in major newspapers across the country urging the IOC to observe that moment of silence. In an unusual of moment of true altruism one of them will be accepting it without charge. And there has been a whopping 1.1 million “likes’ on a Facebook page urging people to stop for a moment of silence on the morning of the opening ceremonies.

While a lot of effort is being spent on this issue that I think could be better spent on more important issues – for example to free Yaakov Ostreicher from a Bolivian prison – I can’t help but feel good about a worldwide effort to see this slight to the slain Israeli athletes be corrected. Maybe it isn’t only America. Maybe the rest of the world doesn’t hate us after all.

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

Monday, July 23rd, 2012

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.

“Baffled” Bob Costas To Call Own Minute of Silence During Olympic Broadcast

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

One of the best known sportscasters in America may soon make history by defying the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decree that it would not honor the memory of the murdered 1972 Israeli Olympic team, and conducting an on-air memorial of his own.

Bob Costas, famed NBC sportscaster and regular frontline broadcaster of the Olympic games, told The Hollywood Reporter that he would not stand behind the IOC’s “baffling” decision to deny Israel’s request for a moment of silence to acknowledge the massacre of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago at the 1972 games in Munich, Germany, and that he would take it upon himself to highlight the injustice during his broadcast of the London games opening ceremonies on July 27.

If officials of the Olympics continue to refuse to honor the victims with a moment of silence, Costas says “I intend to note that the IOC denied the request,” he tells THR. “Many people find that denial more than puzzling but insensitive.  [So] Here’s a minute of silence right now.”

Costas intends to take his stand for the slain Olympians as the Israeli delegation enters the 80,000-seat Olympic Stadium.

IOC president Jacques Rogge rejected Israel’s call on Saturday for a special observance to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder.  “We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident, Rogge was reported as saying by Sports Illustrated.

Rogge said the IOC will honor the memory of the victims at a reception in London during the games on August 5th, and that IOC officials would attend a ceremony at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck in Germany on September 5, the location at which most of the Israelis were killed.

During the second week of the summer games in Munich, eight members of the Black September Palestinian militant organization entered the Olympic Village, killed wrestling coach Moshe Weinberg and weightlifter Yossef Romano, and took 9 members of the Israeli team hostage.

Due to a botched rescue attempt by German police and intelligence officials, the terrorists killed all of their hostages  - weightlifters Ze’ev Friedman, David Berger, and Yakov Springer, wrestlers Eliezer Halfin, Mark Slavin and Yossef Gutfreund, track coach Amitzur Shapira, fencing master Andre spritzer, and shooting coach Kehat Shorr – at the Furstenfeldbruck airport, where they had transported the hostages after demanding the release of 234 Arab prisoners held in Israeli jails and all members of the German Red Army Faction being held in German prisons.

During the operation, German police killed five of the eight assassins.  Israeli agents later tracked down and killed the other three.

The effort to win the victims a minute of silence at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games has been underway since the attack took place in 1972.  Led by Ankie Spitzer – widow of Andre Spitzer – with support from widow of Yossef Romano, Ilana, awareness for the cause has grown, with a petition placed on Change.org garnering over 100,000 signatures from around the world.

In an exclusive interview with the Jewish Press’s Yishai Fleisher, Ankie said that while she is not obsessed with the Munich massacre and does much with her life other than fight for the memorial, “There’s no way around it…. 40 years have passed but it goes with me, I think probably until the last day of my life.  I was there, I saw what happened in the room, I saw how they were tortured and how they killed one of them in the Olympic village, just a few hours after it happened, and the memory of this will never go away.”

“Right after the massacre, those who survived were asked to pick up the personal belongings of those who were killed, and I asked to be the one to go and gather Andre’s stuff.  So they didn’t want to let me go there, because they were held hostage for 21 hours in his room, and that’s also where they killed Yossef Romano and physically tortured him.  But I insisted by I wanted to do that, but when I came to the building where the Israelis were housed in the Olympic village in Munich, I opened the front door and I wanted to go upstairs because that is where Andre’s room was, and I looked at the staircase, which the blood of Yossef Romano… came down the stairs… I decided that I have to see the place where Andre and his other teammates spent the last hours of their lives.  So I did go up and the chaos was just indescribable.  You cannot imagine, Yishai…”

Choosing Shame Over Honor

Wednesday, July 4th, 2012

Lives can change in 60 seconds, worlds end and new ones begin. Sixty seconds is all it can take sometimes. Sixty seconds where you don’t pay attention on the road as a child runs after a ball; 60 seconds for a couple to become a family as a child is born and placed in his mother’s arms for the first time; 60 seconds when an ill-prepared rescue attempt can turn to disaster and strong men who came in peace can be turned into victims of an ongoing war called terror.

On September 4, 1972, Palestinian terrorists violated the spirit and purpose of the Olympics, bringing violence and death to 11 Israeli athletes. This happened in Munich, in Germany.

To remember, to read about those tragic hours of terror is to read about courage and bravery on the part of the Israelis at they struggled, within themselves, to save their teammates. Those who saw them in the hours before the bungled German rescue attempt, spoke of the dignity of the Israeli athletes. In their deaths, they showed the best of what Israel is and the best of what Israel had brought to the Olympic Games. In dignity, the Israeli team departed after the massacre, and in great shame, the world continued to play as if…as if nothing had happened.

There was no honor among the Palestinian murderers, no honor in gunning down and murdering innocent, unarmed athletes that came to celebrate what was supposed to be the one moment in time the world would join to pursue sports and not war. In their actions, the Palestinians showed the worst of Palestinian society.

Of the German actions, I cannot write. I want to believe their incompetence was not a sign of apathy. I want to believe there was honor in their trying to save the Israelis, the Jews, who had come to German soil to participate in the world games. I want to believe and sometimes I do. I can only imagine their horror that Jews, including at least one Holocaust survivor, had become victims of terror on German soil. I want to feel bad for them but while they may or may not have been responsible for the ultimate failure of the rescue (and the horrendously inadequate security that allowed this to happen in the first place), my heart is too full with sorrow to find compassion for their dismay.

And finally, there was no honor in the cowardice and insensitive actions of the International Olympics Committee – then, and now. They failed – from the start, through the attack, and after. They failed to adequately prepare; they failed during the negotiations. They failed, most dramatically, in recognizing the magnitude of the horror that had played out before their eyes. They failed, and evenworse, lack even the dignity to admit that in their actions, they sanction forgetting or ignoring the results of their failures.

The Palestinian group came to murder, and murder they did. I remember the Munich Olympics, though I was a young girl at the time. I remember waiting for hours hoping the Israelis would be released. Believing that Jews would not die as hostages on German soil. I remember wishing they would let the Israeli army come in and save them but having faith that the Germans could beat terrorists. I was wrong. The German army wasn’t allowed to run the operation – this was done by two politicians and a police officer. Later it was learned that it’s possible some of the hostages were even killed by the German police.

I remember the bungled attempt the Germans made to save the Israelis, of begging to be told that somehow at least one had survived. I remember the joy when we heard the hostages were all safe…and the incredible agony of learning not a single one had survived. I remember the fury when I later read that the “sharpshooters” were not trained professionals but merely men who had shot competitively on weekends. This is what they sent to fight terrorists!

And finally, I remember in the midst of my tears the absolute sense of betrayal and shock to hear that the games would continue, even as Israel pulled into itself to bury its dead.

Deputy FM: Intl Olympic Committee’s Rejection of Minute of Silence for Slain Athletes ‘Unacceptable’

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon on Thursday criticized the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to reject his request to hold a minute silence during the upcoming London Olympic Games, in memory of the 11 Israeli Olympic team members murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

“Unfortunately, this response is unacceptable as it rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest,” Ayalon said in a statement released. “The terrorist murders of the Israeli athletes were not just an attack on people because of their nationality and religion; it was an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community. Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”

Ayalon had sent a letter to IOC President Jacque Rogge a few weeks ago, in support of the request by Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano (widows of two of the murdered athletes) for the minute silence. “Perhaps the darkest chapter in modern Olympic Games history,” Ayalon wrote in his letter to the IOC, “is the moment where eleven Israelis, who came to compete in the greatest global sporting event, were murdered simply because of their nationality. We must remain vigilant against acts of hate and intolerance that stand in contrast to the ideals of the international Olympics.” To this end, Ayalon wrote, he “fully supports” Mrs. Spitzer and Romano in their call for a moment of silence, and reiterated the call for the IOC to “grant this wish.”

Rogge, in his response, made no actual mention of the call for a minute of silence, sidestepping the issue by writing: “Traditionally, the Israeli NOC [National Olympic Committee] hosts a reception in memory of the victims during the Games period, and the IOC is always strongly represented. The upcoming Games in London will be no exception.”

Despite brushing off the request, Rogge said, “please be assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”

Ayalon lamented that “[t]his rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations. This is a very disappointing approach and we hope that this decision will be overturned so the international community as one can remember, reflect and learn the appropriate lesson from this dark stain on Olympic history.”

Ayalon transmitted Rogge’s rejection to the families and widows of the murdered athletes, informing them that the Foreign Ministry will initiate a campaign in the coming weeks to encourage the IOC to reverse its decision.

 

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/deputy-fm-intl-olympic-committees-rejection-of-minute-of-silence-for-slain-athletes-unacceptable/2012/05/17/

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