Three cheers for Bob Costas’ minute of silence. The NBC Olympics anchor is stepping up tonight to honor the memory of the 11 Olympic athletes slaughtered by Palestinian terrorists 40 years ago this summer.
More than 110,000 of us have now signed the petition to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for a minute of silence. (If you haven’t, here’s the link.)
President Obama supports the minute of silence. Do does the U.S. Senate. And Australia’s prime minister and parliament. And Canada’s parliament, and the German Bundestag, and hundreds of other world leaders.
But IOC chairman Jacques Rogge is afraid of offending the Muslim world. Ankie Spitzer, widow of murdered fencing coach Andre Spitzer, says Rogge told her that his “hands were tied” by the 46 Arab and Muslim members on the IOC. (Spitzer says she told Rogge, “My husband’s hands were tied, not yours.”)
Costas says he’ll point out tonight that the IOC has denied Spitzer’s request for a minute of silence. And, as the Israeli team walks into the Olympic stadium, he plans to say to an anticipated viewing audience of 35 million people:
Many people find that denial more than puzzling, but insensitive. Here’s a minute of silence right now.
Rogge claims the opening ceremonies aren’t the right time to remember “such a tragic incident.” But, as the Boston Globe points out, former IOC President Juan Samaranch observed a moment of silence for Muslims killed in the Bosnian war at the 1996 opening ceremonies. And the 2002 opening ceremonies in Salt Lake City, of course, paid tribute to 9/11 in a big way: American athletes entered the stadium carried a tattered flag recovered from the ruins of the World Trade Center.
Another bunch of dead Jews, on the other hand?
Rogge’s craven caving isn’t the only slam against Israel at the London Olympics. The BBC listed “East Jerusalem” as Palestine’s capital in its profiles of countries while, incredibly, listing no capital for Israel.
And he’s not just refusing a symbolic gesture about something that happened a long time ago. According to London’s Daily Mail, MI5 and Scotland Yard have raised their assessment of the threat level against the Israeli delegation. They fear a man involved in the horrific bombing of a bus of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria is on his way to London, traveling on an American passport.
As Atlas Shrugs‘ Pamela Geller writes so eloquently, silence is sanction. The IOC’s appalling indifference to the murder of Israeli athletes 40 summers ago invites the murder of more athletes this summer.
Shame, shame, shame on Jacques Rogge and the IOC. But thank God for Bob Costas. Let’s join him in observing a minute of silence tonight for the Munich Eleven.