This year marks the 40th anniversary of the massacre at the 1972 Olympic Games of 11 Israel athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists. As a reminder of this atrocity, the Israeli Olympic Committee asked that there be a moment of silence to honor the victims at the commencement of the Games.
The International Olympic Committee has refused to agree. The best IOC President Jacques Rogge could do was to promise to attend the Israeli delegation’s traditional tribute to the victims. Rogge also told the Israels to “rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
This may or may not be true. But the important thing is that the massacre never fade from public memory. A public moment of silence promotes this goal; Rogge’s attendance at a private ceremony does not. One suspects that that the International Olympic Committee would be pleased enough if the massacre at its Games were forgotten by the public.
In any event, a moment of silence does not seem like too much to ask. As Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon said: “This rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations.” Just so.
One wonders, though, the extent to which the moment of silence would have been observed by those in attendance.