Menu JTA Search

Nixon Brands Munich Tragedy Perversion of Olympic Spirit

SIGN UP FOR THE JTA DAILY BRIEFING

The killing of 11 Israeli athletes in Munich was assailed by President Nixon as “a hideous perversion of the Olympic spirit” and a “senseless tragedy” in a special message to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations which sponsored a memorial meeting here today. The message, addressed to Jacob Stein, Presidents Conference chairman, was read to the assembled members of the 25 organizations.

The President said that, in tribute to the murdered members of the Israeli Olympic team, “let us reinforce not just our aspirations but our actions, in quest of the brotherhood that was denied to them.” Count Harold Posadowsky, Consul General of West Germany in New York, expressed on behalf of his government sympathy to the people of Israel and Jews throughout the world over the Munich massacre.

Count Posadowsky said that Dr. Gustav Heinemann, President of West Germany, and Chancellor Willy Brandt had asked him to express “to you their condolences and profound sympathy.” The Count said that the role of host for the Israeli athletes had been a “happy” one for Germany and the German people. “After all the terrible crimes done to the Jewish people, we had wanted to make our Israeli visitors and guests feel especially welcome but the dark pounding at the door at night again brought death and terror to Jews” at the Olympic Village.

The West German diplomat said all civilized governments “must work together more effectively to put an end to the activities of terrorists,” adding that “this imperative applies not least importantly to countries of the Arab world.”

Stein declared that “concrete steps must be taken to assure that there will never be another resurgence of annihilation such as transpired in Munich.” He urged that the United States and other governments demand that “terrorists be given no base and murderers no sanctuary” because “condemnation of unbelievable cruelty and decrying bestial inhumanity will not suffice.”

Mrs. Charlotte Jacobson, chairman of the American section of the World Zionist Organization, said the Munich tragedy was the latest “most cowardly and dastardly action” in a “continuing and relentless war against the Israelis that goes as far back as 1948,” when Israel was proclaimed. She asserted that the Munich slayings were “a direct result of the Arab countries allowing the fedayeen movement to fester within their borders.” She said “the world must recognize it as such and take action to halt it. The Arab world must be held accountable by the world for the terrorism of its nationals.”

NEXT STORY