London and the Olympics: More

London and the Olympics: More

Gilbert N. Kahn is a professor of Political Science at Kean University.


The U.S. Congress, the President of the United States, the Canadian Parliament, the Australian Parliament, the Italian Parliament, the German Bundestag, among others and 55 Members of the English Parliament have passed resolutions and/or issued statements calling upon the IOC to permit a moment of silence at the London Olympic Games in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago.

What is troubling here?

The best the British could muster, so far, were 55 out of 650 MP’s to sign on to an a EDM (Early Day Motion)–something equivalent to a sense of the Congress resolution or a joint resolution. (An EDM permits MP’s to register their support for a specific issue or cause.) Regardless of what the IOC will do, it is rather astounding how little sensitivity the British Parliament has to Jewish human rights issues. Dr. Dennis MacShane, a Labour MP, a vigorous opponent of anti-Semitism did write to Prime Minister David Cameron:

If the IOC treats the memory of the dead Jewish Olympians with indifference than shame on them, …but I am sure most MPs would welcome some statement from the British Government in support of a commemoration moment. …If the IOC persists in its stubborn disregard of the anti-Jewish atrocity committed at the 1972 Olympics then I hope Britain can organise its own ceremony to say again “Never Again” to Jew-killing in the name of any ideology or cause. 


While Cameron has not responded, Lord Sebastian Coe, the chair of London 2012, did announce that he would find a way to honor the murdered athletes but not by urging the IOC to have a moment of silence at the ceremony.

Only today’s premier American Olympic sportscaster, Bob Costas, got it. He said that his viewers will have a moment of silence in memory of the murdered Israelis when he broadcasts the opening ceremony.

There is another rather embarrassing side to this saga. Where are the advocacy voices of Anglo Jewry? They might fail to move the IOC, but they ought to be able to gain more than 55 MP’s to sign on to the EDM? Can they not get one of the leaders of either of the major parties to sign on or give support to this resolution? Is the political clout of Anglo Jewry so weak and are they so  timid that less than 10% of MP’s in Parliament felt it was “politically” wise or necessary for them to sign on?

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