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October 25, 2014 / 1 Heshvan, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Jacques Rogge’

Some Wear and Tear Expected as Olympics Committee Chief Steps into a Jewish Lion’s Den Monday

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

Even though he insists that the IOC has already commemorated the atrocity committed by Black September Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Olympic Games, it was announced this week that IOC president Jacques Rogge would address a planned ceremony by the Olympic Committee of Israel, the Israeli Embassy in London and cross-communal British group the Jewish Committee for the London Games on August 6. Ankie Spitzer, widow of slain Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, is planning to give him a piece of her mind.

JTA reported that other Jewish speakers are also expected to criticize the International Olympics Committee president when he attends a memorial ceremony for Israeli coaches and athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

Monday’s service, which is a Jewish community event, has created a “dilemma” for organizers, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.

IOC president Jacques Rogge refused international appeals including from that of President Barack Obama to the Israeli widows of the Munich 11 to legislators around the world to hold a moment of silence during last week’s opening ceremonies of the London Olympics for Israelis slain by Palestinian terrorists during the Munich games.

British Jewish leaders said they did not feel that they could withdraw an invitation to Rogge because they did not formally offer one, according to the Chronicle. Rogge has said he will attend the event and he has met privately with two widows of the murdered Israelis.

“If the Israeli Embassy and London Jewish Community were not organizing it, he would not have any memorial to go to, raged Ankie Spitzer, who sponsored the original petition to the IOC that sparked international reaction.

“If they can’t do the right thing at home, in the Olympic ceremony, why come?”, she continued. “I have been asked to speak. What I am going to say to the IOC will not be nice. But that’s too bad. I do not want to see them there… I will tell them they are two-faced hypocrites and should have stayed at home. ”

According to the ADL, back in 1973, Spitzer wrote the IOC, requesting that the Munich 11 be remembered at the upcoming Montreal Olympics. She never received a reply. Since then, Spitzer and other victims’ families have continued to write, calling for an official recognition and moment of silence. But from Montreal, Moscow, Los Angeles and Seoul, to Barcelona, Atlanta, Sydney, Athens and Beijing, the only commemorations organized have been done so by the Israeli Olympic Committee and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.

“It’s good that he (Rogge) should be there to see how people feel and he should witness it. It will bring the message home to him,” Spitzer told the Chronicle.

According to EJP, dignitaries expected to attend Monday’s service will include British Prime Minister David Cameron, who will also address the gathering, as well as London mayor Boris Johnson, who previously declared his support for the appeals for a minute’s silence at the Games. A message of support will also be relayed from Prince Charles, and international delegates from participating Olympic nations will be present.

Israel’s official representative will be Sports Minister Limor Livnat, who also attended the Opening Ceremony of the London Games on Friday in place of President Shimon Peres. Livnat wore a black ribbon on her arm in tribute to the victims, and observed her own minute of silence during Rogge’s opening address.

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.

Olympic Gold Medal for Lying and Sanctimony Goes to…

Wednesday, June 13th, 2012

Europe has temporarily forgotten its financial problems. This is the summer of sports. In June the European football (soccer) championships are being held in Poland and Ukraine. In July, there will be three weeks of the Tour de France, the world’s most famous cycling race. And by August, Europeans will be watching this year’s Summer Olympics in London.

As usual, however, the Olympics are tarnished by ugly politics. Forty years ago, the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich were marred by the murder of eleven Israeli athletes by the Palestinian terror group Black September. As the London Olympics are the tenth Olympic games since the Munich Olympics, relatives of the murdered Israeli athletes believe it would be appropriate if, during the ceremonies in London, a moment of silence were held for the eleven athletes massacred in Munich. Up till now the Olympic Games have never officially commemorated the murdered athletes with such a moment.

Normally, when an athlete dies, the International Olympic Committee honors him with a minute of silence. Two years ago, the 21-year old Georgian athlete, the luger Nodar Kumaritashvili, suffered a fatal crash during a training run for the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The President of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge expressed his condolences on behalf of the entire Olympic community during his opening speech, while the Canadian and Olympic flags were flown at half-staff.

The same Jacques Rogge, a Count from Belgium, refuses to include such a moment of remembrance for the eleven murdered Israeli athletes, despite the fact that Rogge himself was present at the Munich Olympics as a member of the Belgian sailing team.

In 2004, Ankie Rekhess, a Dutch-born Israeli journalist and the widow of Andrei Spitzer, one of the athletes murdered in Munich, confronted Rogge during a press conference in Athens. “You yourself are an Olympic athlete,” she said. “Hence, you are a brother of the eleven murdered athletes. Why don’t you remember them in front of all other athletes? This concerns the entire Olympic family.” Rekhess received a standing ovation from the 300 people present in the room. However, in his reply, Rogge rejected the request, referring instead to friendship, sportivity and the necessity to keep politics out of sports.

For forty years, Ankie Rekhess has been working her way through the hierarchy of the Olympic Games, seeking to obtain a moment of silence for her husband and his colleagues. In 1996, she was interviewed by the Los Angeles Times after the rejection of her request for a similar moment during the Atlanta Olympics, the first one in which Palestine took part. “I don’t want to condemn anyone,” she said. “I simply want recognition for 11 athletes who came home in coffins 24 years ago.” Today, another 16 years later, Rekhess still has has not managed to persuade the Olympic Committee to honor those who were killed because they believed in the Olympic ideals.

After the Munich massacre in 1972, Rekhess saw the room where the athletes had been tortured and mutilated. “I saw pictures of what they had done to them and vowed no one would ever forget. That is why I want the moment of silence… to remember them all.”

In Simon Reeve’s 2001 book One Day in September, Ankie Rekhess recalls her husband’s idealism and attitude towards the Olympics: “[While strolling in the Olympic Village] he spotted members of the Lebanese team, and told [me] he was going to go and say hello to them… I said to him, ‘Are you out of your mind? They’re from Lebanon!’ Israel was at war with Lebanon at the time. ‘Ankie,’ Andre said calmly, ‘that’s exactly what the Olympics are all about. Here I can go to them, I can talk to them, I can ask them how they are. That is exactly what the Olympics are all about.’ So he went… towards this Lebanese team, and… asked them, ‘How were the results? I’m from Israel and how did it go?’ And to my amazement, I saw that the [Lebanese] responded and they shook hands with him and they talked to him and they asked him about his results. I’ll never forget, when he turned around and came back towards me with this huge smile on his face. ‘You see!’ said Andre excitedly. ‘This is what I was dreaming about. I knew it was going to happen!’”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/olympic-gold-medal-for-lying-and-sanctimony-goes-to/2012/06/13/

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