By Jenni Frazer
July 27, 2012
After his deplorable reception of two of the Munich massacre widows on Wednesday night — my colleague Jennifer Lipman reported the two women were devastated and heartbroken at his response — Jacques Rogge may well be feeling pretty pleased with himself.
To his Israeli and Jewish critics, he is able to spread his arms wide, shrug his shoulders and insist, yes, I did something — his "spontaneous" minute's silence at the Athletes' Village on Monday, during the ironically-titled event, Olympic Truce. Spontaneous my foot — rarely can there have been a man whose every move was so calculated as to its later effect.
To the Arab representatives on the IOC, who very much did not want Rogge to agree to a minute's silence at the Opening Ceremony, and to the Palestinians who have attacked the idea as "racism" — I even heard a rumour that the Palestinians would only agree to a minute's silence provided it included those members of Black September who died in Munich — Rogge has delivered what they asked.
So is it home free for Jacques Rogge? I'm sure he would like to think so. Even pressure from the prime minister of the host country, Britain's David Cameron, failed to move him. Presumably, whatever happens in the audience at tonight's ceremony, Rogge will be smug in his belief that he is above criticism.
However: Rogge — and, for that matter, the scarcely less culpable Lord Coe — have taken self-righteous refuge in the upcoming commemoration at Guildhall. It has been organised by the Israel Olympic Committee, the UJIA and the Jewish Committee for the London Games. A furious Ankie Spitzer complained bitterly that the IOC was using the Guildhall event as a convenient "beard" to hide behind.
As of this writing, I understand that Jacques Rogge still intends to grace Guildhall with his presence. You know what? The Israeli and Jewish organisers should, quite literally, tell him where to go. Not wanted on voyage, Mr Rogge. Not wanted at all.