The International Olympic Committee’s surprise tribute to the 11 Israeli Olympians who were killed at the 1972 Munich Games was nothing more than a stunt, Abe Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League told Newsmax.TV in an exclusive interview.
“What they did is at the athlete’s village there were about 100 officials of IOC and some athletes and, you know, [IOC President Jacques Rogge] said some nice things and did a moment of silence in privacy, basically . . . It was a stunt so he could say, ‘We did it and we did it at the Olympics,’” Foxman told Newsmax.TV.
The IOC is being stubbornly political for its “insensitive, callous” refusal to hold a moment of silence for the Israeli atheltes gunned down at the Olympics in Munich 40 years ago, said Foxman.
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“What we’re talking about is a moment of silence in front of the millions of viewers and sports fans to remember, for a moment, their tragic deaths, period. It’s such a simple thing and it’s been done at the Olympics, so you can’t say it’s going to mar the spirit of the Olympics.
"The 9/11 attack was commemorated. An athlete who died in a training incident was remembered. I think it’s political. I think it’s expedient. I think it’s ugly, it’s sad. And this year, unlike in the past, many world leaders spoke out. But that’s the modus operandi of the people who run the Olympics. They couldn’t care less for what other people say.”
Foxman said the committee members are succumbing to pressure from Arab groups and don’t want to introduce politics into the Games. “They keep saying they don’t want to get involved in politics,” Foxman said. “I believe that the reason that they are not willing to take a moment of silence in memory of Israeli athletes who were murdered at the Olympics 40 years ago only because they were Israelis is because of politics. Because of the pressure from Arab and pro-Arab and Palestinian groups they have stubbornly refused for 40 years to do what seems to me to be such a simple gesture: take a moment of silence in memory.”
Moments of silence are observed all the time in the sports world, Foxman said, for tragedies and for people that have been lost. “It’s a stubborn, insensitive, callous refusal. But I think it has an overlay of succumbing to pressure,” he said, referring to Arab and Muslim groups.
He went on about the committee’s willingness to remember the Munich tragedy at venues outside of the Games. “Athletes were murdered at the Olympics –that’s where it needs to be remembered,” he said. “Why the stubbornness not to take a moment to remember 11 innocent lives? Why are they ready to dance all over the globe and not willing to do it at the Olympics under the excuse that it will mar the spirit. What is the spirit if it isn’t to remember athletes who came only to participate in the spirit of the Olympics and were gunned down? It’s so hideous, it’s stubborn . . . I also believe that it’s politics.”
Foxman said he believes that if 11 German, British or French athletes had been slaughtered, there would not have been an issue in commemorating them but “I think it does make a difference that they were Israelis that they were Jews. Unfortunately that’s the feeling that many of us are left with.”
He said even President Barack Obama has spoken out publicly, adding that heads of state have chimed in too and said a moment of silence is the right thing to do. His opponent, Mitt Romney, who is about to visit the London Olympics and Israel, said for the first time on Monday that he supports a moment of silence at the opening ceremony, according to Reuters.
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