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The games of the XXX Hypocrisyad

I wrote here about the refusal of the International Olympic Committee to set aside one minute of silence at the opening ceremony at this year’s games to commemorate the Israeli athletes who were murdered 40 years ago at the Munich games. Since then, the IOC has held fast to this position despite mounting pressure.

Deborah Lipstadt at Tablet has no difficulty demolishing the pretexts, and identifying the true reason, for the IOC’s decision:

The Olympic Committee’s official explanation is that the games are apolitical. The families were repeatedly told by long-time IOC President Juan Samaranch that the Olympic movement avoided political issues. He seemed to have forgotten that at the 1996 opening ceremony he spoke about the Bosnian war. Politics were also present at the 2002 games, which opened with a minute of silence for the victims of 9/11.

The families have also been told that a commemoration of this sort was inappropriate at the opening of such a celebratory event. However, the IOC has memorialized other athletes who died “in the line of duty.” At the 2010 winter games, for example, there was a moment of silence to commemorate an athlete who died in a training accident.

The IOC’s explanation is nothing more than a pathetic excuse. The athletes who were murdered were from Israel and were Jews—that is why they aren’t being remembered. The only conclusion one can draw is that Jewish blood is cheap, too cheap to risk upsetting a bloc of Arab nations and other countries that oppose Israel and its policies. . . .

This was the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Yet the IOC has made it quite clear that these victims are not worth 60 seconds. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the United States, Canada, Australia, or even Germany. No one would think twice about commemorating them. But these athletes came from a country and a people who somehow deserve to be victims. Their lost lives are apparently not worth a minute.

The comparison to 9/11 is highly instructive. The 9/11 attacks were political, and it is possible to argue that those who conceived and executed the attacks had colorable political grievances. But it is not possible for civilized people to argue that the grievances justified the attacks. Thus, it was not “political” to have a moment of observance for the victims.

By deeming “political” a moment of observance for those murdered at the 1972 Olympics, the IOC implicitly takes the position that there is a plausible political argument that would justify the murders.

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