Jonathan Zimmerman: Olympics Have No Excuse for Ignoring the Munich Massacre

Roundup: Historians' Take

Jonathan Zimmerman teaches history at New York University and lives in Narberth. He is the author of "Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory" (Yale University Press).

In 2002, during the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Mitt Romney watched proudly as Americans hoisted a tattered U.S. flag salvaged from the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. And nobody accused Romney or his Olympic committee of "politicizing" the games.

I thought of Salt Lake City when I read about the campaign to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by terrorists at the Games in Munich 40 years ago. A petition demanding a moment of silence at this summer's Olympics in London, authored by a widow of one of the slain athletes, has garnered more than 100,000 signatures. Meanwhile, Israeli officials and Jewish organizations around the world have stepped up pressure on the International Olympic Committee for such recognition at the Games, which open Friday.

But the IOC says that would be too "political." One member said a moment of silence for Israeli victims "may harm the unity of the Olympics" and "could cause some countries to boycott the games."...

comments powered by Disqus