What would happen if the IOC actually held a moment of silence for the 1972 Munich massacre?

Danny Gordis and Elisheva Goldberg have gotten into a little bit of an internet feud over the past few weeks.

It started when Gordis wrote a column for the Jerusalem Post – A Dose of Nuance: Walking away from Alice Walker – regarding the author’s refusal to translate her signature work, The Color Purple, into Hebrew. Goldberg’s response on Open Zion – Alice Walker Is Not An Anti-Semite – took issue with the following excerpt from Gordis’ original piece:

Nazi Germany, we should recall, began with boycotts of Jewish businesses, with the boycotting of Jewish intellectuals and professionals.

To Goldberg, this meant Gordis had “accused Alice Walker of Nazi-grade anti-Semitism,” a charge he vigorously disputed in a response titled, At least a few shades of grey. There might have been more back-and-forth of which I am unaware, but this isn’t the kind of piece for which I intend to do a lot of research. That’s because I can’t wait to get to the part where I come in. This morning, Gordis posted the following on Facebook:

Deborah Lipstadt skewers Elisheva Goldberg’s silly piece about Jews not being satisfied about the Olympic non-moment-of-silence. … Not clear why Goldberg continues to take these indefensible positions.

Gordis followed up on Twitter:

The link, of course, took his followers to Paper Treiger – more specifically, to my May 30 post entitled Elisheva Goldberg: Genesis of an Anti-Israel Activist.

Gordis obviously read enough of the post to deduce that Elisheva and I are related [see: “At the end of the dinner, after the  delicious dessert of brownies, fruit and whipped cream (quite delicious), it was discovered by yours truly, and my cousin, Mordechai Treiger…”], but seems not to have read closely enough to realize it was tongue-in-cheek [see: I have highlighted the anti-Israel portions in bold for your convenience:].

And now that I’ve been drawn into this little debate over the International Olympic Committee’s refusal to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony in memory of those killed by Black September during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, I may as well put in my two cents: on a certain level, I think both sides of this debate have a point.

Israelis take their moments of silence seriously. When they occur – so far as I know, only on Yom HaShoah and Yom HaZikaron – sirens wail, and the entire country screeches to a halt. In case you’ve never seen this video, or another one like it, know that I mean that quite literally:

So to Israelis, Jews worldwide, and others familiar with this practice, the request to hold a moment of silence during the Olympics in honor of the only time athletes were ever murdered at the Olympic Games seems perfectly reasonable, if not the natural course of action.

That said, it is well-established that non-Jews don’t really ‘get’ how Israelis celebrate their sacred days:

From this perspective, the IOC’s decision to hold a private moment of silence in front of 100 people at the athlete’s village, and to later make “a pilgrimage to the airfield where several of the Israeli team… were killed in a chaotic shoot-out… on the exact day of the killings… at the military airport of Furstenfeldbruck where the killings actually happened…” constitutes remembrance enough; you’re not going to get any better, so well enough should be left alone.

While my sympathies lie with the first argument, I must admit that I find the second more credible; the Olympic moment of silence is just not a practical solution. You see, if the IOC actually tried to hold a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games, I suspect it would go something like this:

8:59:57       Jacques Rogge: Please join me in a minute of silence in memory of those we lost 40 years ago
9:00:00       Israel: /sobs silently
9:00:00       United States: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       United Kingdom: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       Spain: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       France: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       Democratic People’s Republic of Korea: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       Germany: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       Japan: /stands respectfully
9:00:00       Libya: e
9:00:00       Canada: /stands politely
9:00:02       Lebanon: its you
9:00:04       Syria: AND ME
9:00:06       Saudi Arabia: and all of the people…
9:00:07       United Arab Emirates: eeee
9:00:09       Kuwait: INTO ETERNITY
9:00:12       Palestine: Long live Black September!
9:00:15       Iraq: TONIGHT
9:00:19       Rogge: /peeks at watch
9:00:20       Oman: IS THE NIGHT
9:00:21       Yemeneeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
9:00:22       Turkey: /coughs
9:00:22       Iran: The Zionist Entity must be stopped!
9:00:23       Rogge: /stands
9:00:23       Egypt: Allaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa
9:00:24       Rogge: …59…
9:00:25       Egypt: –hu akbar!
9:00:25       Rogge: …60!

(And if you feel that you’ve read this before, it’s because you probably have.)


2 thoughts on “What would happen if the IOC actually held a moment of silence for the 1972 Munich massacre?”

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