‘Shame on you’ say Olympic widows

THE widow of a murdered Israeli athlete shouted "shame on you" at International Olympic Committee boss Jacques Rogge again this week.

At a ceremony in London’s Guildhall to mark the 40th anniversary of the outrage, Ankie Spitzer – whose fencing coach husband Andrei was killed at Munich – fumed: “Shame on you, IOC, because you have forgotten 11 members of the Olympic family.

“You are discriminating against them only because they are Israelis and Jews.”

And Ilana Romano, whose husband Yosef was also murdered, stormed at Rogge: “You violated the Olympic Charter calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace.

“Your way is the way of ignoring and denial.

“Our beloved ones were athletes whose participation in the Munich Olympics ended when they returned in coffins.

“The terrorists murdered the Olympic ideal and used the stage to spread terror around the world.”

Rogge and the IOC had refused to hold a minute’s silence at the London Games for the 11 Israelis murdered by Arab terrorists.

Rogge earlier had recalled being an Olympian in 1972, when he competed in sailing. He said he would never forget the tragic events of that year, and that there is no justification for terrorism.

"Even after 40 years, it is painful to relive the most painful moments of the Olympic movement," he said. "I can only imagine how painful it must be for the families and close personal friends of the victims."

The proposal for a moment of silence has been controversial, with family members saying Olympic officials have made excuses for 40 years as to why it should not be held.

The IOC has argued that the opening ceremony isn't an appropriate forum for a moment of silence.

But Ankie Spitzer pointed out that this year's ceremony included not one but two moments of silence and demanded to know why it was appropriate to offer thoughts in memory of others but not the slain Israelis, who were, after all, Olympians. "Is the IOC only interested in power and money and politics?" Spitzer asked.

"Did they forget that they are supposed to promote peace, brotherhood and fair play?"

Prime Minister David Cameron, who was also at the Guildhall ceremony, spent time with the two Israeli widows — but stayed clear of the issue over the minute’s silence.

He said that the ceremony “marked one of the darkest days in the history of the Olympic Games”.

Mr Cameron added: “It was a sickening act of terrorism which betrayed everything that the Olympic movement stood for and everything that we in Britain believe in.

“Even after the horrors of the Holocaust, the scourge of antisemitism is still present.

“It reminds us of the need for right-minded people around the world to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Jewish people and proclaim ‘never, ever again’.

“We will stand with the Jewish people and with all victims of terror around the world whoever they are and wherever they are from.’’

Israel Sports Minister Limor Livnat noted that German newspaper Der Spiegel reported that German neo-Nazis had been accomplices to the Munich massacre.

Highlighting the terrorist attack on Israelis in Bulgaria last month, Mrs Livnat said: “It is the murder of Jews, simply because they are Jews.

“Jewish athletes, Jewish tourists and just plain Jews.’’

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg and Labour party leader Ed Miliband also spoke and watched guests, including London Mayor Boris Johnson and Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott light 11 candles to mark those who lost their lives.

Mr Cameron said it was right during the London Olympics to stop and remember the 11 Israeli athletes in what was a “truly shocking act of evil – a crime against the Jewish people, a crime against humanity and a crime that the world must never forget”.

He continued: “Britain will always be a staunch friend of Israel.

“We know after centuries of persecution Israel does — and must — provide a secure home for the Jewish people.’’ German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle recalled how the images of Munich were “burned into the German collective memory’’.

He said the victims deserved a dignified memory.

Terror, he added, could never be justified.

Mr Westerwelle said: “No political goal justifies killing innocent.

“Antisemitism and intolerance are the monstrous faces of perverted ideology and hatred.”

Germany had not forgotten nor would ever forget the names of the Israeli athletes and their coaches.

“We cannot bring back the dead, but it is our responsibility to honour their memory,” he explained.

He said Germany would continue to stand by Israel’s side for failing to offer a moment of silence at the opening of the Games.

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