In 1936, world athletes went to Berlin to compete in the Olympics while the Nazis used the games as window dressing to hide the persecutions already taking place in Nazi Germany since its rise in 1933. All the reasons given at the time in favor of participation in the Olympics played into the hands of the Nazi propaganda machine. The greatest motivation for participation was wishful thinking; feigning global unity while Nazi Germany was already a house of horrors. Ultimately, the world’s unwillingness to stand up to Nazi Germany during the 1930’s had enormous costs.
The unwillingness to pay homage to the victims of the Munich massacre says much; that the lessons from the past are being forgotten by many. It is symptomatic of the times in which we are living. Silence in the face of hate.
Jews in France today are living in daily fear of physical assault from Islamists. In Norway and Sweden, anti-Israel activities proliferate. Great Britain has also become a hot bed of Islamic activity. Recent radical Islamic revolutions in the wake of the “Arab Spring” threaten the stability of the Middle East where nations are now under radical Islamist rule. Egypt’s new leader rails against Israel before jeering crowds. Leaders of the Iranian regime level the most outrageous accusations against the Jews. Missiles rain upon Israeli cities from Gaza by Palestinian terrorists from the very territory which Israel withdrew seven years ago.
The opposing voices in Europe are too few.
In the aftermath of the Olympic tragedy of 1972 world leaders and the press expressed outrage. Forty years later the silence is deafening. Jew hatred in Europe is steadily on the rise and much of the world is silent as it had been in the 1930s. At the Olympic Games there is fear of offending the very perpetrators of hate. There is a spirit of appeasement in the air.
In 1936, the nations of the world sent their athletes to Berlin with the hope that there was still some unity or room for reconciliation, while Hitler was busy plotting and planning against his guests’ host nations. In 1972, the Olympic Games returned to Germany, this time Munich, where Arab enemies of the Jews murdered eleven Israeli athletes. In 2012, let’s hope the IOC reverses its decision and sends a clear message to the world.
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