Munich revisited

Yasser Arafat initiated the modern age of terrorism with the Black September operation that resulted in the murder of the Israeli Olympic team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. The following year Arafat followed up the Munich operation with the operation that resulted in the brutal assassination of United States Ambassador to Sudan Cleo Noel and his charge d’affaires George Curtis Moore on Arafat’s direct order. When Arafat appeared in New York in November 1974 to address the United Nations wearing his holster and wagging his finger, he was accompanied by one or two members of the Black September assassination squad who were serving as Arafat’s bodyguard for the trip (I’m writing from memory based on Livingstone and Halevy’s Inside the PLO). It was his special way of sticking his finger in the eye of the United States on that occasion.

As a result of Steven Spielberg’s film “Munich,” Dan Alon — one of the survivors of the Arafat’s Olympic operation — has stepped out from his life as a chemist and businessman to discuss the events he lived through in 1972 as a member of the Israeli Olympic team. Last week he spoke to students at Yale about his experiences in a presentation covered in this Yale Daily News story. This coming Friday Alon will be speaking at Dartmouth. Rabbi Moshe Gray writes:

Dan Alon, an Israeli Olympic athlete who survived the Munich massacre in 1972, will speak at Dartmouth College on March 31 at 4:30 p.m. at the Rockefeller Center 3. The talk is free, and the public is welcome.

Alon was born in Tel Aviv in 1945 and began fencing when he was 12 years old, coached by his father. He was Israel’s champion fencer for many years, representing Israel in international competitions before the fateful trip to Munich for the Summer Olympics, when 11 Israeli hostages were murdered by members of a Palestinian terrorist group, Black September. For many years, Alon kept silent about the tragedy he witnessed, but since the release of the recent Steven Spielberg movie “Munich,” he has begun to tell his story.

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