September 5, 2022
OTTAWA – B’nai Brith Canada is pleased that the German Government has finally agreed to pay reparations to the families of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered 50 years ago in the Munich Olympic massacre.
“B’nai Brith welcomes the news that an agreement has just been reached between the German Government and the families of the Israeli athletes massacred at Munich, that will see a historical inquiry, the taking of responsibility by Germany and suitable compensation paid to the victims’ families,” said Michael Mostyn, B’nai Brith’s CEO. “The IOC however needs to ensure that all who participate in its games in the future be aware of what occurred in Munich. It is a telling message that the IOC resisted any type of memorial to the victims until 2016.”
“We welcome the fact that soon before the 50th anniversary of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympics, an agreement has been reached for a historical inquiry, the taking of responsibility and suitable compensation for the victims’ families,” President Isaac Herzog of Israel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier of Germany wrote in a joint statement.
The International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) behaviour in response to the massacre has been shameful. Despite the massacre, the 1972 Olympic games were inexplicably allowed to continue, although several national teams and dozens of athletes left the games, in solidarity with the victims. When several spectators unfurled a banner reading “17 dead, already forgotten?” at the 1972 event, security officers removed the sign and expelled those responsible.
During the memorial service following the tragedy, the Olympic Flag was flown at half-mast, along with the flags of most of the other competing nations. However, when many Arab nations objected, the decision to fly flags at half-mast was rescinded.
Dishonourably, it was only prior to the launch of the 2016 Summer Olympics – 44 years after the massacre – that a ceremony was finally held by the IOC to honour the victims. A similar request had been rejected by the IOC in 2012.
Today, much of the world remembers this atrocity with a sense of horror. However, this is not shared by Palestinian leadership. On the anniversary of the event, Mohammed Abbas, the President of the Palestinian Authority, praised the outrage as a “heroic operation” and “one of the most important actions in modern history.”
B’nai Brith notes that Abbas has been accused of having financed the terrorist attack. The late Mohammed Oudeh, better known as Abu Daoud, named Abbas as one of the main accomplices assisting Daoud in planning the Munich massacre, in his autobiography.
Perhaps that explains why in his visit to Germany last month, Abbas refused to apologize for the massacre and instead claimed Israel has committed “50 Holocausts ” against Palestinians. Abbas’ outrageous remarks were immediately rebuked by world leaders and led to him retracting his comments.
B’nai Brith demands an investigation of the role of Abbas, including indicting him before the International Criminal Court, should the evidence of his complicity in the massacre be corroborated by an independent investigation.