Search JTA's historical archive dating back to 1923

News Brief


A German sports expert has raised hackles for saying that Israeli Olympic athletes wanted to die to gain sympathy for Israel.

Arnd Krueger, director of the Sport Sciences institute at the University of Goettingen, said at a recent conference that this was the only way he could explain why the athletes killed by Palestinian terrorists in the 1972 Munich Olympic Village did not leave the village, even though they had felt insecure there. He later told Ha’aretz that he had been at the Munich games as a young reporter, and that one of the Israeli athletes had told him the village did not seem safe. Participants at the academic conference were so shocked by Krueger’s words that they demanded the university president take action, according to a June 28 report in Der Spiegel magazine. The university reportedly was waiting to hear from the German Association for Sport Sciences. At the conference, Krueger also suggested that Israelis had a “different concept of the body” from that in other western countries, which he also linked to their supposed “self-sacrifice.” According to his thesis, Israel tries “with all possible means” to avoid disabilities, and he added that Israel has a higher abortion rate than other western countries. The comments drew a sharp reaction from Israel’s deputy ambassador to Germany, Ilan Mor. In Der Spiegel, he called Krueger’s comments “oneof the worst examples of the dehumanization of the State of Israel, and an example of the new flare-up of anti-Semitism in Germany, disguised as criticism of Israel.” According to Der Spiegel, Krueger repeated his theories in a written statement to the university, with the disclaimer that he is not an anti-Semite.

Recommended from JTA