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April 17, 2014 / 17 Nisan, 5774
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Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Times’

How the Left Reports on Turkey

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Glen Johnson, reporting for the Los Angeles Times, has filed his story late Sunday night: “Thousands in Turkey continue protest over plan to bulldoze park.” Having been keeping up with the situation in Turkey, I took the opportunity to examine how the left wing media report on events that are not in my immediate vicinity. I know that when they report on, say clashes between the murderous IDF and peaceful Palestinian protesters, or on vile Jewish settlers burning down acres of olive groves that have been in this Palestinian farmer’s family since Saladin’s time, they’ll skew the story as best they can, using both code and innuendo, misrepresentations of the law and a warped version of history. But will I be able to catch those same tricks in a story about another country?

It was a challenge, and I must admit I had to labor for almost an entire minute to discover the usual suspects. I won’t bother you with the entire list of examples, because you’ll tire and walk away, so let’s do just a few:

First paragraph:

A weekend of protest in Turkey has left the country reeling, with thousands of DISSIDENTS taking to the streets after a brutal police crackdown, presenting the government with the MOST COHESIVE CHALLENGE in its more than a decade in power.

Dissidents? How are these free Yuppies living in Istanbul dissidents? Are they being thrown in jail? Are they dying in the gulags? How did they become dissidents?

Well, with a few key strokes, is how it happened. The same as in the case of the most cohesive challenge to the government. A government that has enjoyed a growing majority of the vote for 11 years is challenged by some guys burning stuff? Was the U.S. government challenged by the Rodney King riots in L.A.? Is Israel challenged by a bunch of Arabs throwing rocks at passing cars?

A cohesive challenge is when a competing political party manages to attract a sizable portion of the voters, to the point where government has to take notice. A few thousand guys brawling with the cops is the most cohesive challenge in a decade? Then I’m afraid the Erdogan regime is here to stay for as long as they feel like.

Next paragraph:

“The government is passing laws that go against our freedom, that take away our rights,” said 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt as she stood in the heart of Taksim Square in central Istanbul on Sunday evening. She was drinking a beer and smoking a cigar — powerful statements in present-day Turkey, WHERE ISLAMISTS FROWN ON ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION and CIGAR SMOKING IS HARDLY THE SOCIAL NORM FOR A WOMAN.

So, Islamists in Turkey are frowning on alcohol consumption – as opposed to what other Islamists? Alcohol is banned by Islam – much like marijuana is religiously banned by the U.S. government. In fact, while hundreds of thousands of Americans spend time in jail for smoking and selling weed, not one person in all of Turkey has even been charged with drinking alcohol – because it’s legal. The government—like most municipalities in the U.S.—is trying to set limits on where bars can operate—away from schools and religious institutions—and at what age one may start drinking—in Turkey it’s 18, in the U.S. 21—and when the bars should close at night—unless they serve the tourism industry.

What a brave lass this 31-year-old Derya Bozkurt must be, for drinking beer in a country where no one can touch her for doing it. In New York City she could be arrested for drinking in public, unless she kept the can in a brown paper bag.

And the idea that a guy from L.A., the place where cigarette smokers are the lepers of society, is complaining that Turkish women are discouraged from smoking cigars? In L.A. someone would call the cops on her for smoking, if she’s not careful.

Finally:

Plans to redevelop the park were PUSHED THROUGH last year by Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party, or AKP, DESPITE CONSIDERABLE OPPOSITION.

The AKP, a center-right nationalist party with Islamist leanings, DOMINATES THE PARLIAMENT and retains significant support in the country, appealing to a conservative Muslim base.

You’ll admit, that if you didn’t know the AKP enjoyed a huge, democratically elected, majority in parliament, you’d think that the development plans were imposed on the suffering Turks by a tyrannical, bullying system, deaf to their pleas. They did it despite considerable opposition of roughly 3 percent of the people, after all, how anti-democratic can you get?

Germany’s Circumcision Police

Sunday, September 2nd, 2012

There was a head-spinning moment in Germany last week: News emerged that a rabbi had been criminally charged for performing his religious duties. Rabbi David Goldberg of northern Bavaria, who shepherds a 400-member community, is the first person to run afoul of a ruling by a Cologne judge earlier this year that criminalized circumcision, a basic religious rite.

There is some precedent outside of Germany for such a ruling. In 2001, a Swedish law sparked a protest from Jews and Muslims by requiring that a medical doctor or anesthesia nurse accompany registered circumcisers, and that anesthesia be applied before the procedure. The law is still in effect.

In 2006, a Finnish court charged a Muslim mother with assault for circumcising her baby, and this was followed by a Jewish couple being fined for causing bodily harm to their son. The Muslim mother wasn’t ultimately punished, and in 2006 the Finnish Supreme Court said her actions weren’t criminal and religious circumcision not a crime. In the United States, a San Francisco ballot initiative tried last year to make circumcision an offense punishable by a $1,000 fine and up to a year in prison; it failed to get enough votes. (In Germany, the Cologne judge seems not to have not yet specified punishment for violations.)

The ban by the court in Cologne, however, is the most troubling. For decades Germany has been an example of how a nation can take responsibility for its previous crimes. It is very moving to see Germany’s Holocaust memorial in Berlin, just two blocks from the country’s parliament. But the circumcision ban deserves universal scorn.

The American and European rabbinate should lead a delegation of mohelim (ritual circumcisers) to Germany to seek arrest for civil disobedience in protest against government persecution. I would join them and call upon Islamic imams to stand with us.

Does the German government really want to get into a public battle over whether they are better guardians of the health and welfare of Jewish (and Muslim) children than their parents?

The Los Angeles Times recently cited a study predicting that as the number of circumcisions goes down in the U.S., the cost of health care will steadily climb. Eryn Brown reported that “If circumcision rates were to fall to 10% . . . lifetime health costs for all the babies born in a year would go up by $505 million. That works out to $313 in added costs for every circumcision that doesn’t happen.”

Why? Because circumcision has been proven to be the second most effective means—after a condom—for stopping the transmission of HIV-AIDS, with the British Medical Journal reporting that circumcised men are eight times less likely to contract the infection.

The New York Times echoed these findings in an Aug. 27 report that projected “declining U.S. circumcision rates could add more than $4 billion in health care costs in coming years because of increased illness and infections.” The story focused on the American Academy of Pediatrics updating its 13-year-old policy on circumcision and declaring that the health benefits of circumcision—in reducing chances of HIV infection and other STDs, urinary tract infection, and cancer—outweigh the risks.

While the Germans decry the barbarity of circumcision for men, they also overlook the benefit to women who are the men’s partners. Male circumcision reduces the risk of cervical cancer—caused by the human papillomavirus, which thrives under and on the foreskin—by at least 20%, according to an April 2002 article in the British Medical Journal.

While some attempt to equate male circumcision with female clitoridectomy, the comparison is absurd. Female circumcision involves removing a woman’s ability to have pleasure during sexual relations. It is a barbarous act of mutilation that has no corollary to its male counterpart. Judaism has always celebrated the sexual bond between husband and wife. Attempts to malign circumcision as a method of denying a man’s sexual pleasure are ignorant. Judaism insists that sex be accompanied by exhilaration and enjoyment as a bonding experience that leads to sustained emotional connection.

We Jews must be doing something right in the bedroom given the fact that, alone among the ancient peoples of the world, we are still here, despite countless attempts to make us a historical footnote.

Getting Priorities Wrong in Egypt and Syria: Three Media Case Studies

Thursday, August 16th, 2012

http://www.rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/getting-priorities-wrong-in-egypt-and.html

As I lay here waiting for the gurney to take me into the operating room and read the hundreds of kind letters from so many of you I hope to fill in your time with one more article.

Focus is everything, knowing what the central problem is and dealing with it. Here I want to discuss three articles that I basically agree with to point out how they miss the key issue and thus are somewhat misleading. I’m glad to see these three articles being published but it’s a case of, to quote Lenin, two steps forward, one step back.

First, the Washington Post published an editorial entitled, “The time for patience in Syria is over.” It criticizes “America’s long paralysis in responding to the conflict in Syria,” pointing out that the war and horrific bloodshed is escalating. And it concludes:

“President Obama called on [President Bashar al-] Assad to leave office, a proper reaction to the brutality. But Mr. Obama has not backed his words with actions that might help them come true.”

It isn’t every day that a mass media organ criticizes Obama. Yet there are two problems. One is that the measures the newspaper proposes are very much out of date:

“No one is arguing for a Libyan-style intervention into Syria at this point. But the United States and its NATO allies could begin contingency planning for a no-fly zone, now that Mr. Assad is deploying aircraft against the opposition. Instead of providing only non-lethal support, such as medical supplies and communications gear, America could help supply weapons to the outgunned opposition fighters. It could work with Turkey and other allies to set up havens for them.”

Since the opposition has been asking for a “no-fly zone” for about six months, arguing that the NATO allies “could begin contingency planning” for one isn’t exactly a bold measure. Moreover, while the United States is only directly “providing only non-lethal support,” it is facilitating the supply of lethal weapons by Saudi Arabia and Qatar. And third, there are already safe havens for the opposition fighters in Turkey.

So none of those three ideas are decisive or even highly relevant. The key point is mentioned in passing in another passage, calling on the United States, “…To get a better read on opposition forces and to encourage those less inclined toward sectarianism.”

Yet this is the central issue! There is no point in supporting an opposition that’s going to procue a government dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists! That’s the issue: The United States should do everything possible to help moderates—both defected officers and liberal politicians–gain the upper hand. It should work closely with the Kurds and press hard to make sure that Christians are protected and that the opposition (or at least parts of the opposition responsible) will be punished if it commits massacres.

Is that so hard to see?

But guess what? Senator Marco Rubio also never mentions the Islamism issue in his article on how the United States should intervene in Syria. He better get an advisor who knows something about the Middle East fast or he may end up as another John McCain on the Middle East.

Second, Vali Nasr has some good points in New York Times op-ed. But I perceive two very big flaws. One of them is a warning:

“If the Syrian conflict explodes outward, everyone will lose: it will spill into neighboring Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Turkey. Lebanon and Iraq in particular are vulnerable; they, too, have sectarian and communal rivalries tied to the Sunni-Alawite struggle for power next door.”

Really? The issue is not that the conflict is going to spill over but that it is part of a Sunni-Shia battle that will be a major feature of the region in the coming decades. Lebanon and Iraq are merely other fronts in this battle and whatever happens in Syria isn’t going to start some new problem in those countries.

The question is merely who wins in Syria. A Sunni victory in Syria would empower a moderate-led Sunni community in Lebanon against Hizballah. As for Iraq, another Sunni power will make that government unhappy but isn’t going to intensify already existing sectarian tensions there. And Kurdish autonomy in Syria isn’t going to set off a Kurdish-Turkish war in Turkey either.

Manufacturing Gaffes

Thursday, August 2nd, 2012

http://sultanknish.blogspot.co.il/2012/08/manufacturing-gaffes.html

If you read the newspaper, watch the telly or turn the radio dial to something besides talk or the greatest hits of the 70′s, 80′s and today, then you know that Romney’s international trip was a disaster. How do you know that? Well you know it the same way that Soviet citizens knew that their economy was booming and it would only be a matter of time before the oppressed slaves of capitalism threw off their shackles and bowed their arrogant heads to the hammer and sickle. They read it in the paper.

We read things in the paper too. Not very good or interesting things because the media is currently too lazy and cheap to do good or interesting things.

Modern journalism is indistinguishable from public relations. PR people do not investigate or report, they come up with a narrative, break it down into talking points and then sell it down by the docks. Their narrative is “Our company is great and the other company is bad.” When their company does something wrong, then it’s, “Our company really isn’t responsible for this” and “The other company is much worse than we are.”

When it comes to politics all you really hear from the media anymore is the same lazy spin you can find on corporate press releases. Read the press releases from a squabble between two companies, switch out the names of the companies to, “Obama” and “Romney” and imagine that Obama Inc. owns the media. Now you know everything you need to know about politics.

Journalism is out. The modern media is too lazy and cheap to actually work on investigative reporting and when they do take the time, it leads to some ridiculous personal eyewitness account of nothing in particular. Coming up with an actual scandal takes work, but why bother when you can just spin the actual news in the worst possible way and manufacture a gaffe narrative.

Manufacturing gaffes is a lot easier than manufacturing jobs which is why the media has switched from fake optimism about the economy to fake pessimism about Romney’s competence. While it takes a lot of work to open a factory that manufactures shoes or microprocessors, manufacturing a gaffe factory is very easy.

Step 1. Call something that a candidate has done a gaffe.

Step 2.  Report on the gaffe claim that your media outlet just made. Do not call it a claim, treat it as a verified fact that everyone has already acknowledged.

Step 3. Turn the gaffe reporting into the major issue by talking about it all the time. Interview experts who are willing to back up your gaffe claim.

Step 4. Fire constant questions at the candidate to force him to acknowledge the gaffe. If he discusses the issue in any way, describe him as apologizing or walking back his previous statements. Print essays that accuse him of being an incompetent flip-flopping wimp. If he refuses to discuss it, accuse him of stonewalling and print essays that accuse him of living in denial because he refuses to admit what “everyone” already knows. Either way you’ve proven that he’s a bad person.

Step 5. Repeat step 1 several times. Then begin reporting on a “Pattern of Gaffes”, a “Pattern of Stonewalling” and a “Pattern of Flip-Flopping.”

We got a preview of the media’s gaffe manufacturing process during Romney’s international trip. There are currently more media stories on Romney’s gaffe then there are on the latest bad news for the economy. The narrative is being set through constant repetition.

“Romney’s foreign trip gaffes” the Washington Post blares, “Romney’s Gaffe Track Ends” ABC News laments, “Mitt Romney in Jerusalem: Another city, another gaffe (or two)?” the Christian Science Monitor speculates. Every outlet repeats the same talking points with a slight twist. The “story” is that Romney makes gaffes.

Once the basic narrative has been set, the media begins its secondary “reporting” in which it treats its manufactured story as a real story and begins embedding it into the real world. This takes the form of analysis pieces on the consequences of the fake story.

“Romney suffers gaffes, but will it hurt his campaign?” asks AFP. “Mideast gaffe could cost Mitt Romney” suggests the New York Daily News.”‎‎Romney aide’s gaffe exposes rift” offers Politico.

In Egypt, Just Whack the Jewish Piñata to Become a Star

Tuesday, July 31st, 2012

Egyptian activists seem to believe that Egyptian actor Adel Imam — possibly the most famous Arab actor — took Mubarak’s side amid the Egyptian revolution that toppled him in 2011. As a result Imam has been blacklisted by Egyptian activists. Nonetheless, Imam has made a comeback with a miniseries that is full of anti-Semitism and demonization of Jews and Israel. Is this just plain hate for Jews or is it a stunt by Imam to win the public? And if so, what does it mean for Egypt and the Arab world?

First, it is worthwhile to examine who Adel Imam is. In 1994, the Los Angeles Times described Imam as a popular actor, noting that: “His expressive and not particularly handsome face has become the mirror of the Egyptian middle class, with its tribulations, celebrations and frustrations.”

In fact, Imam’s popularity earned him the position of a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Higher Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). On its website, the UNHCR notes that Imam “mobilizes many other celebrities, business community and media for the refugee cause.” Furthermore, the UNHCR’s website edition of Imam’s biography describes him as the “Arab Charlie Chaplin,” and the “most famous actor in the Arab world.”

The above strongly suggests that Imam is, indeed, a heavyweight Arab celebrity. Nonetheless, Adel Imam’s popularity suffered a major blow when he allegedly sided with the Egyptian regime amid the revolution that toppled President Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Shortly after Mubarak was overthrown in February 2011, Dubai-based TV network Al-Arabiya reported that Adel Imam had been blacklisted by Egyptian political activists of the 25 January revolution, along with other Egyptian actors and actresses, because Imam was one of the “Egyptian actors, musicians, and media figures that showed support for the country’s former President Hosni Mubarak.” Al-Arabiya confirmed that Imam’s pro-Mubarak stance was “the big surprise” for Egyptians as “it contradicted his previous leading roles in many nationalist and anti-establishment films”. However, Al-Arabiya notes that this should not be a surprise as Imam was known to be a close friend of Mubarak’s family. Since then, Imam made several media appearances, including one on Al-Jazeera, claiming he was supportive of the revolution, but his name remained on the blacklist, signifying the potential damage to his career.

This July, Imam made a comeback with a miniseries titled “The Naji Attalla’s Squad.” The miniseries will air all through the Muslim holy month of Ramadan which began on July 2th for most Muslim countries. The Naji Attalla’s Squad tells the story of Naji Attalla, a retired Egyptian military officer serving as a senior diplomat at the Egyptian embassy in Tel Aviv, where he runs a thriving gambling business under the cover of his diplomatic immunity. Attalla draws the attention of the Israel Security Agency — better known as the Shabak — who freeze his assets because of the unexplained funds compared to his income. Choosing to take revenge, Naji Attalla (Imam) puts together a group of ex-servicemen who had served under him, with the purpose of going to Israel to rob Bank Leumi where his frozen assets are kept.

In an interview with the Egyptian Private TV network, Dream, Imam described the mini-series as “A historical landmark.” Let’s see what Imam’s “historical” miniseries has looked like so far.

Imam’s first appearance in the miniseries begins with him telling a joke. Imam says: “One time, a Jewish guy went to France, he found a French girl, he spent a night with her and then gave her 50 Euros, the next day, he spent another night with her and gave her 50 Euros. The third night was the same and the fourth was the same. The lady got impressed, she told him: A generous Jew? 200 Euros in one job! I love Jews now and by the way my aunt lives in Tel Aviv, the Jewish guy responded: I know, as she’s the one who sent you the 200 Euros”.

In another scene, Imam is shown making another joke about Jews being too cheap to a laughing and an impressed Jewish Israeli real estate agent. In another scene, an Egyptian diplomat who was newly-appointed to serve in Tel Aviv is shown telling Imam how he feels like he is in a nightmare for having to live among Israelis, noting he could not forget “their despicableness…and our folks still getting killed in Gaza and Palestine,” to which Imam responds “it is better to get know your enemy…in order to know how they think, as they (the Jews) have always been trying to learn how we think.”

Rubin Reports: Yankee Go Home! Saith the Good Guys

Thursday, July 19th, 2012

http://rubinreports.blogspot.co.il/2012/07/yankee-go-home-saith-good-guys.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+Rubinreports+(RubinReports)

“Which Side Are You On?/They say in Harlan County/There are no neutrals there./You’ll either be a union man/Or a thug for J. H. Blair.” –Florence Reece, “Which Side are You On?” 1931

The interesting news was not that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was pelted with stuff while visiting Cairo, the important issue was who was doing the pelting. Once upon a time, anti-American radicals threw things at U.S. leaders. But now….

Reportedly, the hurlers of objects were people from the Free Egyptians Party and other Egyptian liberals. At the same time, leading Christians, including Naguib Sawiris who is the man behind that party and perhaps the most outspoken anti-Islamist figure in Egypt today, refused to meet with Hillary.

Why? Because these people see the Obama Administration as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. That might sound far-fetched to the mainstream media (though not to you, dear readers) but it is taken for granted in much of the Middle East. Oh, and they also remember that the Obama Administration cut the financial support to liberal groups granted by its predecessor.

In the articles of liberal Arabs, the statements of Persian Gulf Arab establishment figures, and the conversations of Syrian, Turkish, Iranian, and Lebanese oppositionists, the idea that the U.S. government is now helping the Islamists is taken for granted.

Let me repeat that: It is taken for granted.

So it is the liberals, the democrats, the moderates who now view America as their enemy. Yet supposedly the U.S. policy is promoting moderation and democracy, right?

These critics have a strong case. Obama’s Cairo speech was precisely about encouraging Middle Easterners to redefine their identity from a national one—principally Arab—to an Islamic one. Obama invited the Brotherhood to sit in the front row. And when the upsurge in Egypt began and the State Department wanted to support continuity along with reform, the Obama Administration demanded the end of the regime.

Next, without anyone asking him, Obama said the United States wouldn’t mind if the Brotherhood became the government of Egypt. And more recently, of course, he has supported the Brotherhood against the army, demanding that the military turn over power right away, or else.

And in Syria, the Obama Administration backed a Brotherhood-dominated leadership in the Syrian National Council. Islamist Turkey was the ideal country from the White House standpoint, with Obama lavishing praise and almost never criticizing it for becoming pro-Hizballah, pro-Hamas, pro-Iran, pro-Islamist in Syria, and fanatically anti-Israel. And in Bahrain, the Obama Administration was ready to back a revolution putting (Shia) Islamists in power until the State Department stopped it.

“I want to be clear that the United States is not in the business, in Egypt,” says Clinton, “of choosing winners and losers, even if we could, which, of course, we cannot.”

Wrong! While of course Islamists won elections in Egypt and Tunisia (but maybe lost in Libya), the Obama Administration has been working to pick the winners and losers. The winners: revolutionary, anti-Semitic Islamists; the losers: old regimes and liberal oppositionists.

Is it really the West’s duty to help push a radical Islamist government into power in Egypt as fast as possible? True, the Brotherhood won the parliamentary election but the election was invalidated. By who? Ah, one might expect a leading American newspaper to know that fact. Here’s the Los Angeles Times editorial on the subject:

“To some extent, the military’s power — along with economic realities — may have inclined [Egyptian President Muhammad al-] Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood to a more pluralist and moderate course. But if the generals overplay their hand, they will lose popular support and antagonize Egypt’s allies, including the United States, which provides the military with $1.3 billion a year in assistance. Both Congress and the Obama administration have put the generals on notice that those funds are in jeopardy if the transition to democracy is thwarted. An attempt to shut down a reconvened parliament would be interpreted inside and outside Egypt as just such an obstruction.”

Let’s list the points made here:

–The Muslim Brotherhood has become more pluralist and moderate. Why? Because of the military’s power and economic realities. How is this logical? You mean that the military’s pressure on the Brotherhood has made it more moderate? So by that argument if the military ceased its pressure and turned over government to the Brotherhood then the Brotherhood would be more radical. Yet that is precisely what the Los Angeles Times and much of the media and the Obama Administration is advocating!

Pamela Geller Cancelled by Federation in Los Angeles

Monday, June 25th, 2012

An event sponsored by the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles featuring controversial anti-Islamist Pamela Geller was cancelled on Sunday, just hours before it was to take place.

Geller was to present her assessment of the “motive behind Islam’s war on the Jews, the war against Israel and the 1,400-year-old hatred of Jews living in Muslim lands” to a local chapter of the Zionist Organization of American (ZOA).

However, according to an interview given to the Los Angeles Times, Geller said the Jewish Federation “cravenly submitted to Islamic supremacists who wanted to suppress free speech” and cancelled her event.  However, according to the LA Times, an interfaith coalition of Jews, Muslims, and Christians issued a statement expressing its concern over the Federation’s invitation of “one of the nation’s leading Islamophobes” to speak.

After a short and heated interchange with Geller opponents who had come to confront her with questions during the event, Geller and remaining attendees moved to a hall a few miles away, where she gave her presentation.

Geller became a fierce activist against what she calls the “Islamization of America” following the jihadist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon on September 11, 2011.  She has been a vocal opponent of plans to build a Muslim community center and mosque as part of a World Trade Center memorial.

While Geller has developed an ardent following, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Anti-Defamation League have classified her organization, Stop Islamization of America, as a hate group.

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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