Something good came out of that Olympic moment of silence controversy

I was recently talking to someone about this blog, and he said one thing that stuck with me – something like but not necessarily, “It’s hard to believe you write the blog. You seem like such a nice guy in real life, but online, you’re such a critic.” And I get it: it’s easier to tear things down than build them up, and — since I often choose the former route — it’s possible I don’t always come off as the nicest guy online.

But though that may be the rule, every rule has its exception (except Godwin’s), and in this post I mean to draw your attention to an instance in which Paper Treiger served to unite rather than destroy.

You may recall when, in the lead-up to the 2012 Olympic Games in London, a brief controversy erupted over whether the IOC ought to hold a moment of silence in honor of the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics, which saw 11 members of the Israeli delegation killed by the Palestinian terrorist organization Black September.

The controversy created a minor debate in the Jewish blogosphere. Some, like Deborah E. Lipstadt, forcefully argued that the IOC was wrong to deny this request. After all, London was permitted to honor the victims of the 7/7 subway victims, an event which had absolutely nothing to do with the Olympics (save its location), while the tragedy in Munich had occurred inside the Olympic village. Others, like noted pro-Palestinian activist and sometimes terrorist sympathizer Elisheva N. Goldberg responded that the IOC ought not to hold the moment of silence at the opening ceremony because the IOC President held a separate commemorative ceremony elsewhen.

Meanwhile on Paper Treiger, I thought that the two sides were arguing for absolutely no purpose. Whether or not the IOC decided to hold a moment of silence was irrelevant, because such a commemoration could never be enforced in practice. I’m not going to rehash the post’s entire argument – if you want to see how I imagined the moment of silence would play out, see What would happen if the IOC actually held a moment of silence for the 1972 Munich Massacre? – but I do want to draw your attention to the effect it had: it brought the two warring factions into agreement.

And I only just learned this fact.

I recently searched Twitter for “Paper Treiger” – you know, a blog vanity search. It was the first time I had ever done this, so I found myself scrolling back pretty far in time. And when I got to July 2012, I came upon something amazing:


Lipstadt and Goldberg don’t agree on much, and they certainly didn’t agree over whether the IOC should have held a moment of silence (spoiler: it didn’t), but they do agree on one thing: What would happen if the IOC actually held a moment of silence for the 1972 Munich Massacre.


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