Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Why I Won't Be Watching the Olympics

The Olympics is supposed to be a time of international unity and brotherhood. Unfortunately, the reality falls very short of this ideal.

Here are some of the "fundamental principles" of the Olympics, from their Charter [emphasis mine]:

The goal of Olympism is to place sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
The practice of sport is a human right. Every individual must have the possibility of practising sport, without discrimination of any kind and in the Olympic spirit, which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.
Any form of discrimination with regard to a country or a person on grounds of race, religion, politics, gender or otherwise is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.

Here is the reality we face today:

On the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes in the Munich 1972 Olympic village, the International Olympic Committee refuses (again) to allow one moment of silence in memoriam. Why? Because apparently "Arab nations" have vowed to walk out. I'd like to see them release a name of the countries who are blackmailing the IOC and causing it to violate its own charter and guiding principles.

There has never been any Olympic effort to memorialize the victims. These athletes hoped to practice this IOC-recognized "human right" of playing sports, and they were murdered for it. I would hope that the writers of the Olympic Charter, first published in 1908, are rolling over in their graves.

This article has the most honest quote I've seen on the matter: "Rogge and his predecessor, Juan Antonio Samaranch, have attempted desperately over recent decades to placate the Arab and Persian nations at these Games, fearing a boycott or worse."

The "or worse" is the actual truth. The IOC does not fear a boycott or a walkout. They fear further terrorist attacks.

What a ridiculous reason to ignore a terrorist attack at the Olympics! We give in to terrorist attacks in order to prevent more terrorist attacks at this event to promote international comraderie? Has that appeasement method worked for you in the past, London? This successful intimidation allows bullies to promote terrorism and intimidation during what should NOT be a political event. Regardless of the political motives behind this terrorist act, lives were lost violently in the middle of the Olympic village, the alleged epicenter of global harmony and goodwill. I can think of absolutely no reason to legitimize not remembering the victims of a terrorist attack at the Olympics, regardless of the citizenship of the dead or the motives of the guilty. Thankfully, at least the IOC has been honest that they don't have a good reason either.

Moments of silence have been held for terror victims at previous Olympic ceremonies, including one at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, Utah, remembering the victims of the 9/11 attack. Notably, as the 30th anniversary of the Munich slaughter, the 2002 Olympics also declined to have a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes. I suppose the irony was much stronger in 2002 since we had a moment of silence for American victims of an Islamist terror attack, but not for the victims of an Islamist terror attack at the Olympics itself. Today, it's just cowardly.

If we as an international community allow fear to make us incapable of either (a) showing respect for the dead and/or (b) condemning terrorism, what hope is there for the betterment of the world?

This is entirely unacceptable and should be condemned in the strongest terms possible. The opening ceremony is on Friday, and I hope you will not be watching.

If you would like to raise awareness about the memory of these athletes, here is a banner you can put as your Facebook "cover" photo or whatever newfangled social networks you crazy kids are using today.


  1. I'm also boycotting, it is a shame that this violent culture is attempting to bully the entire world. The real problem with the Muslim world and their current culture of hate that the rest of the world doesn't realize is that when they are finished with we Jewish people, if they have been successful in using their bullying tactic with the rest of the world, everyone else is next.

  2. First of all, THANK YOU. For this post, for this BLOG, for the guidance. I'm so, so sorry that your privacy was breached and that this blog is no longer safe--I hear you. But this is a total haven for me and I really appreciate all you've done for those of us who are confused.

    I grew up Protestant, half of my Spanish ancestors were Jewish before getting chased out of Spain and the other half were Muslim... and I currently identify as a Messianic Jew. So I'm really trying to include more Jewishness into my living and trying to sort this out, and your blog has been amazing. :)

  3. I don't think we need to remember them now!

  4. 1. I totally agree with you about the Olympics. Cowardice at its finest.

    2. Please respond to me, I don't really know who else I could ask: I am moving in with my father soon. I am a giyoret (not Orthodox, I kind of vacillate between Conservative and Reform, though when it comes to ritual observance I'm much more on the conservative, even conservadox end of things). I want to ask my father to keep the kitchen at his house kosher (I'm willing to do the work, like washing and re-organizing the fridge and purchasing my own personal set of dishes). Mostly what I want him to do is not bring any treife foods into the kitchen (as in, don't put your takeout pork dumplings in the fridge). How can I convince him to agree to this? I don't want to inconvenience him or make impositions, but it's important to me. He's non-religious, but he accepts me and the way that I practice Judaism, even though I don't think that he understands it. What can I say to him to make him understand what this means to me? And is there any sort of Jewish law that discusses this situation (as in when a Jew lives with a non-Jew)?

  5. Leiram: Remove the "Messianic" out of your Jewishness, and you will be worshipping only Hashem.

  6. I know you weren't planning to watch the Olympics, but did you see Aly Raisman win the Gold for her Hava Nagila floor exercise? It was amazing!
    It's not the same as getting their deserved recognition from from the Olympic Committee, but I'm sure there will be Munich 11 remembrance at the Maccabiah Games next summer and that is the third largest international athletic competition in the world. The largest is a soccer thing and the second largest is the Paralympics.

  7. Sorry for the late comment, I only just found this.

    'What a ridiculous reason to ignore a terrorist attack at the Olympics! We give in to terrorist attacks in order to prevent more terrorist attacks at this event to promote international comraderie? Has that appeasement method worked for you in the past, London?'

    Godwin much? That is so utterly shameful.