New IOC chief Thomas Bach says he’ll quit Israel boycott group

(JTA) — Thomas Bach, the newly elected president of the International Olympic Committee, said he will resign from an Arab-German trade group that boycotts goods from Israel.

Bach, a German lawyer, told the ZDF-Sportstudio TV program over the weekend that before taking the IOC presidency, he will quit several posts on Sept. 16 — including the presidency of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

His announcement followed days of pressure from, among others, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Berlin office of the American Jewish Committee.

Bach, 59, said that “Monday will be the day of resignations. I will resign as president of the German Olympic Sports Confederation, I will have to resign from my position in the International Court of Arbitration for Sport, and as president of the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.”

He  added that he would have to leave at least 12 more positions.

The Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry was set up in the 1970s by Arab countries to boycott trade with Israel.  Ghorfa helps German companies ensure that products meet the import requirements of Arab governments, some of which ban products and services from Israel.

Bach, who most recently served as IOC vice president, supported the refusal of the IOC to hold a moment of silence at the 2012 Summer Olympics for the  nine Israelis killed by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.

He won a fencing gold medal at the ’76 Games in the team foil.

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