August 30, 2014

Middle East Media Sampler for August 9, 2012


1) The Olympic Omission

Jon Wertheim of Sports Illustrated profiled Ankie Spitzer in Munich widow's fight for moment of silence at opener falls on deaf ears:

For every Olympics since 1976, Spitzer has asked the IOC for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies to honor the murdered Israelis. For every Olympics since 1976, she has been rebuffed. She says that the IOC's explanations have varied over the years, but none have been satisfactory. She says that she was once told that such a moment of silence wasn't in the Olympic protocol. Yet there have been acknowledgements of atrocities ranging from the Bosnian conflict to 9/11; as recently as the Vancouver Olympics, there was a moment of silence to honor the Georgian luger who died before the Games in a training run.

Spitzer says she was told the moment of silence could spur a boycott among Arab countries. "If they don't understand the Olympic spirit, they should stay home," she says flatly. Similarly, Spitzer has also been told that such a moment of silence would politicize the Games. "Fine," she responded. "Just say they were Olympic athletes, part of the Olympic family." (Officials did stage a moment of silence for those 'who are not with us' during the opening ceremony.) In the spring, she met with IOC President Jacques Rogge — who, ironically, had competed as a yachtsman in the Munich Olympics — but again was told no. "The lame excuses have culminated," she says. "I hate to conclude this but [rejection of the moment of silence] is because they were from the wrong country and had the wrong religion."

The article illustrates the hatred expressed by the Muslim world for Israel. While it gives some space to the political cover used, it is sympathetic to Spitzer's effort.

Another woman said that she'd have observed the moment of silence. In this case it's gold medal winning gymnast Aly Raisman. Responding to why she used "Hava Nagila" as music for her floor exercise, Raisman explained: (via memeorandum):

“But the fact it was on the 40th anniversary is special, and winning the gold today means a lot to me.”
Then Raisman stuck the landing.
“If there had been a moment’s silence,” the 18-year-old woman told the world, “I would have supported it and respected it.”

More at JoshuaPundit.

Though it's probably better known for its annual swimsuit issue, Sports Illustrated occasionally features some investigative reporting. Ten years, one of this writers interview the mastermind of the Munich massacre, Abu Daoud. The interview included this:

Though he didn't know what the money was being spent for, longtime Fatah official Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a. Abu Mazen, was responsible for the financing of the Munich attack. Abu Mazen could not be reached for comment regarding Abu Daoud's allegation. After Oslo in 1993, Abu Mazen went to the White House Rose Garden for a photo op with Arafat, President Bill Clinton and Israel's Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres. "Do you think that … would have been possible if the Israelis had known that Abu Mazen was the financier of our operation?" Abu Daoud writes. "I doubt it." Today the Bush Administration seeks a Palestinian negotiating partner "uncompromised by terror," yet last year Abu Mazen met in Washington with Secretary of State Colin Powell.

I don't know if there's any other source confirming this.

While I knew of Avery Brundage and I now know of Jacques Rogge, Peter Martino gives the history of another Olympic official who made excuses for hatred of Jews.

Meanwhile, Joods Actueel, a Jewish monthly magazine in Antwerp, Belgium, published details of the shameful anti-Semitic past of the International Olympic Committee and its former president, Count Henri de Baillet-Latour – like Rogge, a Belgian aristocrat.

Baillet-Latour was IOC president from 1925 until his death in 1942. Joods Actueel delved into the Count's past. Journalists Geert Versyck and Guido Joris discovered that the Count and his wife were Nazi sympathizers. To keep this truth hidden, the IOC is trying to rewrite its own history, presenting Baillet-Latour as a critic of the Nazis rather than a supporter.

Baillet-Latour was IOC President in 1931, when the decision was made to hold the 1936 Olympics in Berlin. In 1933, when Hitler came to power in Germany, the Nazis began to turn the Games into a propaganda tool to demonstrate to the world the superiority of the Aryan race. In 1933, Jews were barred from civil service in Germany and Jewish athletes were excluded from sports clubs. Even Gretel Bergmann, the high-jumper who held the German record, was banned — because she was a Jew — from participating in the Olympics.

2) We wouldn't want to make the same mistake again

David Ignatius in a column, The Myth of the Mad Mullahs, celebrating the 2007 NIE that concluded that Iran had stopped working towards producing a nuclear weapon, wrote:

The debate about what the NIE should mean for U.S. policy toward Iran is just beginning. But for the intelligence community, this rebuttal of conventional wisdom will restore some integrity after the Iraq WMD debacle. In challenging the previous certitudes about Iran and the Bomb, the NIE recalls the admonition many decades ago by the godfather of CIA analysts, Sherman Kent: "When the evidence seems to force a single and immediate conclusion, then that is the time to worry about one's bigotry, and to do a little conscientious introspection."

Challah Hu Akbar quotes from Ha'aretz that “recently received a new National
Intelligence Estimate report on the Iranian nuclear program, which shares
Israel's view that Iran has made surprising, significant progress toward
military nuclear capability.”

Wouild Ignatius say that failing to assess an enemy's capabilities correctly would constitute a debacle?

Why would anyone object to Iranian efforts to develop nuclear weapons? Colbert King recently wrote in the Washington Post, Iran’s anti-Semitism makes it the greatest threat to Jews:

By any measure, I am not a Jew. I was not born to a Jewish woman. I was not raised nor educated as a Jew; therefore I do not, as Adam Garfinkle might argue, see the world through the eyes of a Jew, evincing Jewish moral sensibilities or exhibiting any sign of Jewish historical memory.

But I do have the power of recall, and I do, as a non-Jew, recognize vicious anti-Semitism when I see it. The Iranian government is as anti-Semitic as the Third Reich.

Listen to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and you hear strains of Adolf Hitler.

I do not know where King stands regarding Israel. But this is a remarkable essay that makes no excuses for Iranian hatred of Jews. It is a far cry from what we'd see in the opinion pages of the New York Times where Roger Cohen excused the tyranny of the Iranian regime and editorials portray Israel as a complication to American effort to counter Iran.

About Daniel Goldstein

Daniel Goldstein is a media critic and recovering blogger. He has been critiquing media bias against Israel since his first letter to the editor in 1987.