What Have We Learned Since the Munich Massacre?

Written by
Talia Eckstein

What if I told you that America was refusing to set up a memorial to the victims of 9/11 in order not to offend the Muslim world? You’d say that’s crazy; it would never happen, right? Think again. We’re not talking about 9/11 though, we are talking about the Munich Massacre, and the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) bowing to the sensitivities of the Arab world.

Some background first: Forty years ago, on September 5, a group of Palestinian-Islamic terrorists stormed the Olympic Village, taking 11 Israeli athletes and coaches hostage.  They demanded the release of 234 prisoners held in Israeli jails in exchange for the Olympians. The standoff between German police and the terrorists lasted 16 hours, ending in a botched rescue attempt. By the time it was over, all 11 Israeli athletes had been murdered.

One of the most chilling aspects of this tragedy was that within just 200 yards of where the Israeli athletes were being held hostage, Olympians sat and sunbathed and played ping pong, without a care in the world. It gives me chills when I watch a documentary about the event, One Day in September, and see the striking juxtaposition of the Olympic athletes competing in the races, while at the same time the Israeli Olympians are locked up in fear nearby. (Check out moment 9:21 on the video below.) That all this took place on German soil, only 27 years after the Holocaust, only adds fuel to the fire.

In all moments of difficulty in life, I try to see the silver lining. What have we learned from this tragedy? I wish I could say that the world has changed since that time, that anti-Semitic incidents are on the decline, that Jewish blood is no longer cheap, that the world has learned from the mistakes of the past. Sadly, however, as it is written in Ecclesiastes, “There is nothing new under the sun” (v. 1:9).

Just weeks ago, five Israelis were killed and 30 wounded after a suicide bomber attacked their tour bus while on vacation in Bulgaria. Their only offense was being Jewish. All across Europe, anti-Semitic incidents occur at disturbingly high levels. You would think that with the Olympics taking place in London this year, the IOC would be quick to honor the murdered Olympians, and make a statement that terrorism is unacceptable.

Not so. For the last 40 years, the widows of the murdered athletes have begged the IOC to remember the murdered Munich Israeli athletes with a legitimate moment of silence and/or a memorial. It’s such a simple and obvious request. The IOC refuses, however, many saying it’s because they don’t want to get into “politics.”

I wish I could say that the world has learned from its mistakes and that, today, 60 years after the Holocaust, Jewish people around the world no longer suffer for the simple fact that they were born Jewish. Unfortunately, I cannot. I do, however, have tremendous hope that, with the support of our Christian friends around the world, the future will be brighter.


Athletics / 

Join the discussion:

  • Allon
    August 2, 2012

    HE will turn our mourning into dancing. It was so awesome Tuesday night to see Ely Reisman do her floor program to Hava Nagela and help the US Womens gymnastics team win the Gold Medal

  • Susan
    August 2, 2012

    I too am appalled at the indecency and inconsideration of responding to a valid request to honour the Jewish athletes whose youth and dreams were snatched away from them in the height of their careers. I too see the old age antisemitism that Jews are enduring, mostly from muslim extemists. It’s the same old problem with a different face and it’s reminescent of Hitler (I even hate to say that name)in Nazi Germany. I would say to all people, please don’t look away when people like the leader of Iran say they want to annihalate the Jews. We can’t just say he is a muslim extremist. We need to see what history has taught us and take it for what it is- a horrific reminder of our past history that the human race must never allow a repeat. There is much wisdom in this quote “all it takes for evil to prevail is for good men to do nothing”. Having said all this, I do want to say that Israel remains the Apple of God’s eye. I can’t understand the wickedness and irrationality of antisemitism, but I do believe that Israel right now is the most important time piece for God’s plan in the earth and that her real enemy is not human. Just remember God holds you in His hand, in spite of the intolerable suffering you have endured even through the centuries and sometimes in the name (only) of Christianity.In spite of the rhetoric and those who would shed innocent blood, God is doing a miracle in Israel and the whole world is watching. May God bless you and keep you- the Apple of His eye!

  • Jennifer
    August 2, 2012

    Have we allowed Satan to desensitize us that much! Why didn’t the country’s just pull out of the games in protest if Olympic committees wouldn’t cancel? Why didn’t the USA at least? Then to be sunbathing next door. So sorry! Christians we all need to stand up and support Israel! Anyone for that matter that is put in this.

  • christian henri
    August 2, 2012

    I applaud Daniel for such an enlightening insight; I could not have said it any better! And guess what? they are doing their spreading with the oil money bought by Europenas & Americans, Jews & Christians… Their tactics are to detect needy people, set up shops in forms of schools, charities, and even media, and start indoctrinating by feeding them…Ironically, before some US officials criticize Israel as occupying lands, they should consider returning some states (ca, fla, tx, ar, nevada, & othersd…) to Mexico…or…shut up! Dudes…I mean cool dudes…

  • daniel
    August 1, 2012

    Dear Talia,
    You’re so right,telling that people have never learned anything,from such a tragedy and manyothers,especially in Europe,where the ARAB VIRUS is sprading all over,with the light speed;the simple fact that every people try to give up the religious rules,I mean the Christian rules,so far we let the muslims to become stronger and stronger,to invade the Christian world;it seems nobady gives a dam,sorry,very sorry,such a big mistake

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