Friday, February 10, 2006

Today the Winter Olympics start in Torino, Italy. I never was a big fan of sports, but I have always liked to read about ( or - sometimes, when I have nothing better to do - watch ) the achievements of great sportsmen and -women. I remember that as a teenager I had particular feelings of sympathy and admiration for Sebastian Coe, because he was so graceful and always seemed to be the perfect English gentleman. When he entered politics as a Conservative I was slightly disappointed, but hey, nobody is perfect :-) Today I read that Mr Coe, who chairs the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games in 2012, proposed to have a ceremony at those games, commememorating the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the Munich games forty years earlier. Kol HaKavod ( Hebrew for 'kudos' ) to him! The chances of his proposal being accepted by the IOC are slim. Maybe I do not know how to search, but I tried to find the names of the athletes who were murdered on the IOC's website and I did not find anything. If you search for "Spitzer" ( Andre Spitzer was the team's fencing coach; his Dutch-Israeli wife Ankie has become one of the most outspoken representatives of the families of the murdered athletes ) you will only find a reference to a meeting between Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano ( another Israeli woman who became a widow at the 1972 Olympics ) and one or more IOC representatives in 2004. The IOC never bent over backwards to make sure the murder of eleven sportsmen who came to Germany to participate in the Games is properly remembered by the whole world. Well, who knows, Sebastian Coe has performed more than one Olympic miracle, he might do it again. In any case he already deserves our appreciation for his efforts to raise the subject. Who deserves as much despise as Baron Coe deserves praise is Ken Livingstone, that great friend of humankind and of the Jewish people who, when asked what his opinion was on the proposal to commemorate the eleven murdered Israeli athletes, could think of nothing better to say than "The most suitable way to commemorate the Munich Olympics is the creation of a Palestinian state next to Israel but without barriers."

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