A Minute’s Silence

June 25, 2012 by J-Wire Staff
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The Federal Liberal Member for Bradfield Paul Fletcher has moved a motion in Parliament calling on the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute’s silence to commemorate the memory of the Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The Bradfield seat is in northern Sydney and within its boundaries lies the suburb of St Ives…home to a large Jewish community and Masada Jewish day school.

The text of the motion:

MEMBER FOR Bradfield. : I give notice that on the next day of sitting I shall move—That this House:

(1)                notes that:

(a)          Tragically, at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, 11 members of the Israeli team were murdered in a terrorist attack
(b)          The impact of this event has been seared on world consciousness
(c)           For forty years the families of those murdered have asked the International Olympic Committee to observe a minute of silence, in their memory, at each Olympic Games
(d)          This request is being made with respect to the 2012 Olympic Games to be held in London

(2)          calls on the International Olympic Committee to observe one minute’s silence at the 2012 Olympic Games in honour of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered by terrorists at 1972 Munich Olympics.

Following the motion Labor member Michael Danby delivered the following speech in the House:

Palestinian terrorist in Munich, 1972    Image copyright AAP

The second week of the 1972 Munich Olympics was meant to be a joyous week; having just completed 7 days of events many athletes, spectators and supporters looked forward to the completion of this sporting event and the celebration that would come at the closing ceremony.
The 5th of September 1972, however would shatter the Olympic doctrine “to build a peaceful and better world which requires mutual understanding with a spirit of friendship, solidarity and fair play.”
On the night of the 4th of September, Israeli athletes enjoyed a night out, watching a performance of Fiddler on the Roof and dining with the play’s star, Israeli actor Shmuel Rodensk. They returned to the Olympic Village shortly after to sleep.
That night, the head of the Israeli delegation, Shumeul Lalkin, denied his 13 year old’s son request (who had become friends with two of the wrestlers in the squad) to stay in the athletes apartment. The refusal saved his life.

At 4.30 am, on the 5th of September, 8 terrorist from  Black September scaled the two-meter fence with the assistance of unsuspecting athletes who were also sneaking into the Olympic Village.  The 8 members of Black September carried duffel-bags loaded with AKM assault rifles, Tokarev pistols and grenades.  They used stolen keys to enter two apartments being used by the Israeli team.
What followed would be the blackest day in Olympic History. A sporting event that was meant to embrace diversity, that has been shaped over the years  by kin-ship, kindness and solidarity, was ripped apart with the brutal, cold-blooded murder of Moshe Weinberg ( wrestling coach), Yossef Romano ( weightlifter), Ze’ev Friedman ( Weightlifter), David Berger ( weightlifter) Yakov Springer ( weightlifting judge), Eliezer Halfin (wrestler) Yossef Gurfreund ( wrestling referee), Kehat Shorr ( shooting coach), Mark Slavin ( wrestler), Andre Spitzer ( fencing coach), and  Amitzur Shapira (track coach).
American Swimmer Jenny Kemp, who was at the Olympic Village that night, remembers many of the Olympic athletes from the village assembling on a huge grassy knoll that day to mourn, “We talked a lot about the Israelis,” she says. “They were huge people. They were great guys. Everybody had wanted their pictures with them.”
Australia, as a sporting nation was shocked to its core when the Israeli athletes were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. I remember being outraged by the incompetence of the German Olympic and police officials. Perhaps their reluctance to acknowledge the 40th Anniversary of the massacre is not simply a desire to kowtow to the Organization of the Islamic States (OIS). Perhaps they don’t want people to remember their incompetence.
My father’s family is originally from Germany, and on this 40th Anniversary the German press is reporting that Abu Daoud, the organizer of these terrorist murders was assisted in scoping Olympic sites in Munich by German Neo Nazis.  The German paper Spegiel, reported on the 18th of June, that Wolfgang Abramowski and Willi Pohl, two NEO-Nazi’s, assisted the Palestinian terror group, Black September, with weapons, fake passports and transport. And that officials in Germany knew about their collaboration.  This co-operation says much about that stream of Palestinian terror .
The 2012 London Olympics marks the 40th anniversary of this massacre. The request for a minute’s silence at the London Olympics to remember those massacred at the Munich Olympics is a simple and a gesture to acknowledge the fallen athletes. This request has the support among others of the Canadian Parliament, U.S. Congressmen, British politicians as well as Australians, to acknowledge, honor and memorialize 11 sports people who came to compete at the Munich Olympics Games.
This simple request has been turned down by the International Olympic Committee by the lame excuse that it would “introduce politics” into the Olympics, even though remembering deceased Olympic athletes during the games is not unprecedented. At the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, a moment of silence was held during the opening ceremony to mark the death of Georgian Luger Nodar Kumaritashvilli, who died in a training accident several days earlier. In 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, the U.S. Olympic teams were allowed to walk into the stadium with a flag recovered from the rubble of the World Trade Centre. These events were tragic, yet the request for this small and simple tribute to remember fallen members of the Olympic family was rejected by the International Olympic Committee.  This event was the darkest hour in the history of the Olympic Games, and to not remember the 11 athletes, who had simply come to the games to represent their country and compete on the world stage, is a desecration of all that the Olympics stand for.
The lame excuse given by the IOC is that it has already paid tribute to the memory of the athletes, but frankly speaking, it doesn’t want to risk alienating countries that don’t like Israel, or cause dictatorships to walk out or boycott the Olympic games. The massacre of the athletes in the communal village in Munich represented an attack on the Olympic community as a whole, and it should be marked publically.
These slain men were; fathers; uncles; brothers; friends; teammates; athletes; they came in peace and went home in coffins, killed by terrorists. The families of the 11 murdered athletes have worked for 40 years to obtain recognition from the IOC, but have been repeatedly turned down.
The IOC’s excuse that a minute silence would bring politics into the Olympics is a weak, and disgraceful excuse. It was not the Israeli athletes who bought politics into the Olympics when they were brutally murdered by the 8 Black September members.
These 11 men went to Munich to represent their country. They were happy, enthusiastic and well liked guys, who only wanted to compete at the event of nations. Their political views were not at the forefront of their minds when they trained, competed and qualified for the Olympics.
The IOC, in its refusal to accept a request for a minute silence of fallen members of the Olympic family, denigrates all that the Olympics stands for.
This small gesture would reaffirm the Olympic values of honour, harmony, and fraternity, the very values that the terrorists repudiated by the massacre.
As Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Andre Spitzer, who was one of the Israeli athletes massacred at the Munich Olympics has said; “The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games.”
The fight to get these athletes remembered will continue.   Members of this House along with parliamentarians from all over the world will continue to press IOC to memorialize the fallen, and as Phillipides, the hero of Ancient Greek who ran 240km from Marathon to Athens, said with his last breath upon arriving to Greece, we will be able to pass on to the families of the fallen, “we have won.”


10 Responses to “A Minute’s Silence”
  1. Otto Waldmann says:

    Why isn’t anyone addressing this important request to the AUSTRALIAN OLYMPIC COMMITTEE as the most natural body to put forward the motion to the IOC !!!

    We still have time to press the issue with them.
    Also this matter should gain much larger public airing. For this one expects ECAJ and all other proffessional community blokes to show their faces on public venues, TV, more media cover etc.
    I know they have incredible access to all those corridors of power, but general media, a groisse gurnisht !! Maybe we don’t pay them enough.

  2. Raoul says:

    I just read even the German Bundestag has now joined in and supports this motion.
    But the OIC (or was it IOC?- probably much the same anyway) is not likely to concede to hold this simple gesture; too many petrodollars are at stake. Perhaps we can inspire some athletes to consider a small gesture instead when they enter the stadium which remembers their murdered comrades on the 40th anniversary of this heinous act. After all remembrance is a powerful weapon against repeating the same errors time and again.

    • Shirlee says:

      A while ago I advocated for countries sympathetic to the idea to wear a black armband

  3. Michael says:

    Let me understand The IOC Int Olympic Committee in order to attract Muslim woman into the Olympics and for the Arabs to move into 21 St century have just announced they will lower the Olympic standards in order for the Saudi Arabian woman to qualify for London .
    However these are Arabs with Oil and Muslims who have a habit of turning to violence whenever they do not get their own way. Notwithstanding any memorial service to the Jews would upset the Arab/ Muslim world long with their leftist supporters and the Israeli Jews have nothing to offer this same IOC will not give any respect to the Jews , they are irrelevant in the big picture

    Perhaps all our wonderful tireless interfaith . advocates in Melbourne and Sydney can talk to their Arab/Muslim counterparts over a cup of Turkish coffee and ask them to sign the petition and go out and bat for the Jews of this issue. After all if the situation was reversed there would be no shortage of Progressive Jews and probably the Anti- Def commission stalwarts that would sign any Muslim petition.

    • Shirlee says:

      Michael I am with you 100% on this, as are many others, most of whom won’t open their mouths.

      • surjit says:

        Shirlee,” Michael I am with you 100% on this ,as are many others, most of whom won’t open their mouths ” There lies the problem, we are so secared to speak the truth and also not to be labeled ‘bigots and racist’ It is about time to have minute’s silence at every Olympic games.

  4. Stan says:

    A minute’s silence isn’t a lot to ask to honour the memory of Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorist scum.
    The IOC and the world as a whole have very short memories when it comes to Palestinian terror and this gesture would be a simple reminder.

  5. debbie says:

    Not to give one short minute of remembrance to murdered athletes? Could it be that this one short minute denied because they were Jewish? Israeli? Yes, absolutely!

  6. PATRICIA says:


    • Steve says:

      I agree completely that the IOC grant a minute’s silence at the London Olympics in memory of the Israeli athletes murdered 40 years ago. BUT WHY HAS IT TAKEN SO LONG?

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