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GORIN The Games Mustn't Go On
by Julia Gorin
[comedian] 5/25/06

This month's release of "Munich" on DVD — and the debate the film has stirred about the title event — should serve to underscore the obsolescence of the Olympic Games in today's world.

The month that "Munich" was nominated in four Oscar categories, Indian tennis star Sania Mirza declined to partner with Israeli Shahar Pe'er in a Bangalore Open doubles tournament, for fear of violent protests by Muslims in India. (For the same reason, the two friends didn't play together in the Australian Open a month earlier). The incident recalls Iranian judo wrestler Arash Miresmaili's refusal at the 2004 Games in Athens to compete against Israeli Ehud Vaks. It was the same year that Libya disallowed Israeli participation in the world chess championship in Tripoli. Sports author Franklin Foer pointed out that the governing body of chess is affiliated with the International Olympic Committee.

Julia Gorin

Comedian and Opinionist Julia Gorin is proprietor of www.JuliaGorin.com and is a contributing editor to www.JewishWorldReview.com..[go to Gorin index]

Boycotting Israel in sports is by now par for the course; even mentally disabled Israelis don't get a pass: In the 2003 Special Olympics in Ireland "both Saudi Arabia and Algeria refused to play Israel in soccer and table tennis," Foer reported. But in the case of the Olympic Games, which is an expression of cooperation among nations, and whose protocols prohibit such political stunts, it's an indication that the event has lost sight of its charter and betrayed its mission of checking politics at the door in the spirit of peaceful competition.

Given the founding Olympic ideals of international friendship and brotherhood, the 1972 massacre of the Israeli athletes should have been taken for what it was: an attack on world peace. Instead, both the Olympics organizers and the other athletes continued without skipping a beat, without protesting that such a thing could happen or causing more than a moment's delay for mourning before proclaiming "The Games Must Go On." So it's not surprising that the world wouldn't bat an eyelash at the continuing pattern of injecting politics into the Olympics, with one participant nation consistently being the target. We can expect to see more of it every two years.

If actions such as those of Libya or Miresmaili are not automatic disqualifiers — and no, there can't be an "exception nation" against whom breaking the rules is acceptable — it's time to admit that the Olympics have become obsolete. It's time to admit that the civility of the 21st Century world falls short of that of the ancient world that gave birth to the competition 28 centuries ago. It's also time to admit that less than 30 years after the Holocaust, the state that was formed to protect against an encore was already considered less than.

Rather than exclude the offending nations, the IOC takes the UN-inspired route of turning a blind eye and expecting the civilized world to keep making allowances, emboldening evil regimes and defying the founding principles of the Olympics. The "civilized" world duly obliges, with no country standing with Israel during these recurring incidents the way 26 African nations did when they boycotted the Games in 1976 in Montreal, "merely because a New Zealand rugby team had toured the then-pariah apartheid state of South Africa," as Rosie DiManno wrote in the Toronto Star in 2004. She added, "That rugby team had nothing to do with the Olympics, but the Africans wanted New Zealand banned anyway and expressed their outrage with their non-attendance."

But it's always easier to just view Israel as the offending nation. In the 2004 judo incident, U.S. judo team leader Buck Wessel said he respected the Iranian athlete's decision, and compared it to America's boycott of the 1980 Olympics to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Meanwhile, Olympic officials "have sent Israel a clear message," author Foer wrote that year.

In 2002, "representatives from various Olympic federations gathered in Kuala Lampur to prepare for Athens. There were 199 flags, including the Palestinian standard, hanging in the hotel ballroom. Sadly, one was missing."

"Israel is [no] country," proclaimed Miresmaili's teammate Haji Akhondzade. Indeed, when psychotic Muslim nations including "Palestine" — where rival "martyr" factions compare their body count competition to a British soccer league — are being increasingly accepted while Israel is being increasingly marginalized, we are moving closer to the day that the Games will forego the civilized members altogether.

By barely blinking at the Munich massacre, Olympic organizers and participants entered into a long-term piecemeal trade: forsaking Israel for the not-too-distant reality when stoning and belt-bombing become official Olympic sports. By declining to view the massacre of Israeli athletes in Munich as an attack on civilization itself, the world forgets that Munich was also where civilization sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler in 1938. Have we already forgotten what that bought us? CRO

This piece first appeared at JewishWorldReview.com

copyright 2006 Julia Gorin





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