LOS ANGELES (Aug. 1)
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has taken on some of the bad habits of the United Nations. It seems to have a vendetta against the Jews. The IOC, for many years the plaything of a small clique of “noblemen” who had quaint ideas of sportsmanship, perhaps want to be considered a true international legislative body. Instead, however, it carries on campaigns of begin neglect, direct insult and barely concealed hatred against Israel and Jews everywhere.
There has been a groundswell of interest this year to have the Olympic Games recognize one of the most important incidents in its history — the slaughter of II Israeli sportsmen on September 5, 1972, at the XX Olympiad in Munich. All that was asked was one minute of silence sometime during the opening cememonies.
“No,” was the answer by IOC biggies, “it might offend or anger the Arabs.” Exactly that kind of answer is given to Jews and Israelis in many international circles.
OTHERS REMEMBER THE MUNICH II
It was not only Jews who thought the IOC should remember the incident. Public officials and figures of many jurisdictions made the same request. In fact, during the past 12 years many community, inter-faith and civic organizations have remembered the Munich II in appropriate fashion. As recently as one month ago, Los Angeles County dedicated a grove of II trees in a public park to the Israeli sportsmen, and a bronze plaque was placed where all might see this tribute to them.
Two articles were published in The Los Angeles Times on two consecutive Sundays, in the special Olympics section that is being issued daily during this Games period. It would be expected that articles in the sports section would be devoted to all the trivia that put together make sports a major subject in today’s world.
But the columns by Jim Murray on Sunday, July 22, and by Bill Shirley on Sunday, July 29, are quite different. They were commentaries on the human situation today. They targetted in on the socalled values of present-day living.
It should be remembered that Murray has been chosen as the outstanding sports writer of America many times. His column appears at the top of page one of The Los Angeles Times sports section, frequently in column one, from the top of the page to the bottom — a significant position in the tradition of important columnists.
It should be noted also that the Times will bind all 22 or 23 of three special Olympics sections into one book, and sell them as souvenirs and as permanent records of the XXIII Olympiad.
RECALLING THE IOC RESPONSE IN MUNICH
And what did Murray write about? He wrote about the manner in which the IOC responded to the attack of the terrorists on the Israeli team: first of all, in going on about the usual business of competition, practice, playing and living in the Olympic Village, within yards of the bound and gagged hostages, IOC president Avery Brundage said that the Games must go on.
Then, after the two Israelis killed in the first attack were joined by nine others brutally killed at the airport in a bungled rescue attempt, he reluctantly allowed a 24-hour suspension. As though it were the Jews’ fault, he allowed them only enough time to parade in silence, and to fly home with their dead. The Games went on. Nothing more was mentioned, officially, about the tragic events of September 5, 1972.
What happened after that? Not too much. The United States Olympic Committee published its hard cover report. The two days of September 5 and 6 received two pages, absolutely the last two pages (231 and 232) of the narrative on the Games.
While the IOC has not recognized the tragic events of 1972, it has reacted to them. Bill Shirley puts all that together in his column.
THE ELEMENT OF SECURITY
He points out that the character of the Games has changed so greatly that no longer is it an international festival of sportsmanship. It is so big and cumbersome that very few nations can sponsor them. And he suggests that the largest element in the structure is the security that is mounted now, as a follow up of the Munich Games.
The security at Moscow in 1980 was such that he thought there were more KGB men around than spectators. Perhaps only in a police state can the Games be conducted to avoid a repetition of a terrorist attack.
Shirley also suggests that because these attacks are planned mostly to take advantage of the enormous interest taken in them by the world’s population, perhaps they should be divided up, and made smaller by holding the various segments in different cities and at different times.
It is a feasible idea. Actually the IOC sanctions a National Olympic Organizing Committee to hold the Games on behalf of the 29 or 30 International Sports Federations. The separate Olympic championships of each of these Federations very well could be held separately.
But, would they then blame the Jews because each Federation could have its own spot in the limelight, and all the sponsoring cities could avoid the enormous expense (and probably deficit) of the combined Games?