The Exact Wrong Message Of Munich


We were deeply disappointed, but not surprised, when the International Olympic Committee turned a deaf ear to the request that the Olympic Games in London hold a moment of silence for the 11 slain Israeli athletes of the 1972 Munich Games, on the 40th anniversary of their tragic deaths at the hands of Palestine Liberation Organization terrorists.

Now comes The New York Times and publishes an op-ed piece Tuesday to mark the occasion, on the eve of the Sept. 5 anniversary, asserting that the U.S made a fatal error in seeking to crush rather than negotiate with the group responsible for the Munich massacre.

In an essay entitled “When It Pays To Talk To Terrorists,” Paul Thomas Chamberlin, an assistant professor of history at the University of Kentucky and author of “The Global Offensive: The United States, the Palestine Liberation Organization and the Making of the Post-Cold War Order,” argues that “by failing to strengthen moderates within the PLO and effectively locking the Palestinians out of the Arab-Israeli peace process, American officials sidelined potential peacemakers and pushed Palestinian national ambitions to the back burner. The decision to label all armed Palestinian groups ‘terrorists’ postponed negotiations with the PLO by 15 critical years…”

Chamberlin places Yasir Arafat in the moderate camp, forced to become more radical by the actions of the “young wolves” in the movement. The professor also distinguishes between “violent groups like al Qaeda and Islamic Jihad, which have unshakeable commitments to destroying Israel” and Hezbollah and Hamas, which he says have “more limited long-term goals.”

Has Chamberlin read the Hamas charter, which calls for the destruction of all Jews, as well as Israel? And he does not mention that the “moderate” Arafat called for the destruction of Israel long before and well after Munich, including after his peace treaty with Israel and when he headed the Palestinian Authority.

And if the dictionary defines “terrorism” as “the political use of violence or intimidation,” what would Chamberlin call the deliberate murder of Israeli civilians, including women and children?

Surely The Times could have found a more worthy essay to publish on the 40th anniversary of the Olympic killings than a critique of those who sought to defeat the terrorists.