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No, Open Zion, Deborah Lipstadt Won’t Shut Up

Jews shouldn’t be satisfied by an impromptu Munich commemoration

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On July 23, IOC President Jacques Rogge signs the Peace Wall in the Athletes Village(Hannah Johnston/Getty Images)

In response to my piece in Tablet, “Jewish Blood is Cheap,” Elisheva Goldberg, the assistant editor of Open Zion, the Peter Beinart site on The Daily Beast, accused me of being one of those Jews who is never satisfied. She believes that I, and the rest of the Jewish community, should be pleased that IOC President Jacques Rogge commemorated the Munich Olympics on Monday, and that we should stop demanding moment of silence at the opening ceremonies.

What did Rogge do that so moved Goldberg? He held his own personal moment of silence, admittedly not “at the opening ceremony in London but instead in front of 100 people at the athletes’ village.”

Goldberg is disturbed that Rogge’s actions did not “appease” those who are calling for a public moment of action. And she berates people like me for not giving the IOC “some positive reinforcement”—never mind that the IOC is a multi-billion dollar operation. After all, Goldberg notes, “Rogge is not opposed to commemorating the Munich murders in public” he just doesn’t want to do it at the opening.

“When,” she asks “will we be satisfied?” Shouldn’t Rogge’s “homage” be enough for us? Why, she wonders, am I being “stubborn” and “insensitive”?

Let me explain it to her: Never before or since were athletes murdered at the Games. Never before or since were the Games used by terrorists for their evil purposes. Never before or since were those who came to participate in a sports competition murdered for who they were and where they came from.

The proper place to acknowledge such a tragedy is not in a so-called spontaneous moment in front of 100 people, but in a purposeful action by the entire Olympic “family.”

Goldberg reminds me of the character in I.L. Peretz’s classic story Bontche Schweig. A desperately poor man who never complained despite having suffered multiple tragedies, Schweig arrives in the heavens. Everyone exalts him for having endured such suffering in silence. In reward for having done so, he is offered whatever he wants. Anything. Schweig asks to be given a hot roll and butter every day. The heavenly prosecutor, hearing Schweig’s small limited vision, “laughed a bitter laugh.”

Peretz’s prosecutor would be doubled over in laughter at Goldberg’s satisfaction with the IOC. Rogge probably already is.

In making a statement on Monday, the IOC’s president tried to throw the victims’ families a bone. Goldberg has caught it, and is happily gnawing away. I, and many others, have no intention of being so easily satisfied.

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SkulduggeryPotato60 says:

Somewhat shocked by the childish impetuousness of this response to Goldberg. She did not tell you to shut up, she calmly asked a reasonable question: Why isn’t the IOC’s Munich commemoration enough?

All having a moment of silence for the murdered Israeli Olympic team serves to do is remind the world that Jews are victims and Palestinians are bloodthirsty murderers. It will not bring back the murdered athletes nor truly give their families peace, nor earn Israel the compassion and forgiveness of the world. Indeed, it does nothing at all to promote peace, tolerance and understanding between the athletes or the nations of the world, but serves only to remind us that Jews and Palestinians are locked in a bitter death spiral. This is the antithesis of what the games are historically meant to represent: That we lay down our arms for a time and celebrate each other’s humanity. Beginning the ceremonies by reminding the world about that time 40 years ago when Palestinians violated this spirit of the games is an act of propaganda with questionable value, as it will not save Israel from its international isolation, nor its responsibility to end the occupation, nor will it weaken international sympathy for the Palestinian cause, nor ameliorate the hatred of Jews. It has done and will do but one thing: Further convince the world that Israel and Jews never miss an opportunity to play the victim card.

The Palestinians – and the world – should be reminded every day that they are bloodthirsty murderers.

Argaman says:

When the attack happened 40 years ago in Munich, the Olympics should have closed down for the year. The least they can do 40 years on is have a moment of silence for the dead. “Childish impetuousness”? There are Palestinians who take responsibility for where their movement has gone off the rails – apparently you only want to focus on what Israel does wrong and not admit the great mistakes the Palestinians have also made. This is not really even about the Palestinians, even though the terrorists were Palestinians – it’s about how the Olympics created a false image of the comity of nations while Israel athletes were being held hostage and then murdered.

There can be no words that will console that Jewish people and Israel for the horrors at the Olympics and elsewhere around the world. It should be our place to accept the apology for what it is and move on… Move on to the real issue of demanding an Israeli state. Words are only words, it is time, past time, for action. Thank you for your words of apology, know that words will never be enough.

is Mobius still feebly trying to peddle his petulantions as one of those “ASHshamed” Jews? C’mon, give us a break. Propaganda? Arabs are still killing Jews and so not only are we still victims but you are actually trying to victimize us by disallowing us a freedom you grant the Arabs residing in the territories of the former British mandate to reconstitute the Jewish National Home not yet fully under Israel’s sovereignty (aka “Palestinians”), the right to resist since “Jews and Palestinians are locked in a bitter death spiral” is a purposeful misrepresentation – as we Jews aren’t locked. They won’t let go. We Zionists yielded on TransJordan, accept a 1947 Partition, gave back Sinai – twice, disengaged from Gaza and nothing helps.

The only reason for demanding recognition 40 years later is that it’s overdue. Why not 4 years later? No one has said the recognition is not warranted, the only argument against it is that the Arab nations would boycott the opening ceremonies.

invisible_hand says:

Your reading (along with Wisse’s, in her introduction to the “I. L. Peretz Reader”) elides the tender ambiguity, which was the real proof of Peretz’ craft. Bontshe was praised in heaven, an exemplar of piety and humility. Peretz’ story was clearly a critique of passivity when it overwhelms, of the meekness to not demand one’s lot in life, but he balanced that with a real love and appreciation for Bontshe as he was, a good man, though scared. Your multiple references to the main character as “Schweig” belies your lack of familiarity with the story, given his purported surname is, in truth, a Yiddish title meaning “the silent” (with the more felicitous Yiddish transliteration being, “Bontshe Shvayg”).
It is despicable to compare Rogge with the prosecuting angel, otherwise known as Satan. He is not a demonic stand-in, cackling his anti-semitic laugh as the Jews are ignored another day. I disagree with his resistance to making a more public memorial for Israel’s murdered athletes, but he did try to bridge some kind of compromise. He is clearly not mirthfully celebrating their deaths nor our common frustrations with his limitations.
Both your polemic and your literary analysis need a significant increase in subtlety.

Go crawl back under your hilltop caravan and save it for someone who cares what you think.

Being accused by Beirnart and Goldberg of being too Jewish (that’s what it amounts to) should be a sign of pride.

These two are like the old court Jews who after being kicked thanked their lords for not killing them.

We should also note that in Beinart’s case his view on this issue is consistent with his view that Israel should also be content with a “peace” that puts its existence in danger.

If he had his way the fate of the Jewish State would be like the fate of the Israeli Athletes in Munich.

Their views is another good reason not to take him seriously.

Rabbi Moshe Pesach Geller says:

@deborah e. lipstadt

Yeah for the straight-forward, unabashed, unafraid and unapologetic truth-speak of Prof. Lipstadt. Thank you.

Deborah, yasher koach!

Umish Katani says:

Put the IOC feet to the fire… Make them squirm… Let them finally admit we are equal to everyone else and we have a RIGHT, not deserve the minute of silence. We Jews must stop shutting up and be as boisterous as possible and make IOC finally take a stand or call us what they are thinking… Those effen kikes.! Never shut up and dont forget because if we do forget …. no one else really gives a damn.

herbcaen says:

Elisheva Goldberg is just a hack who is trying to get publicity by opposing what normal people want. She and her website, Open Season on Zion, should just crawl back under a rock and not disturb the worms, termites and centipedes that they cohabit with

herbcaen says:

mobius is an appropriate name for you-you only have one side

IsraeliCitizen says:

Kol Hakavod Ms. Lipstadt! you say it like it is! The commemoration of the massacre of the Israeli athletes in the 1972 Olympic should be loud and clear in the opening ceremony of the London Olympic. If it does not, it only appeases the terrorists!

Beinart and his cohorts are nothing short of court Jews, shame on them!

Damn straight, Dr Lipstadt.

holdmewhileimnaked says:

-agreed-

Saint_Etienne says:

Hear hear!

Actually, I read now the article on the IOC site and I found there an extremely invidious phrase:

” A rescue effort was attempted at the airport, leaving carnage in its wake: five terrorists, nine athletes and a German policeman were killed. ”

How’s that for you? Are we supposed to mourn for the terrorists first and then for their victims?

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No, Open Zion, Deborah Lipstadt Won’t Shut Up

Jews shouldn’t be satisfied by an impromptu Munich commemoration

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