Olympic politics

June 7, 2012

Few people will understand how an Israeli International Olympics Committee member, of all people, could lead the opposition to a minute's silence at this year's games to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes murdered in Munich in 1972.

Certainly Alex Gilady's reasoning is deeply flawed - that it "may harm the unity of the Olympics" and "could cause some countries to boycott the Games". Such craven fear of other nations' bigoted attitude to Israel is not a justification; it is a defeat. But underneath Mr Gilady's opposition lies an unpleasant truth: that Israel may well be the focus of grandstanding by the likes of Iran and Saudi Arabia in London. There are already reports of boycotts of events in which Israelis are competing.

When that happens we will see the real measure of the IOC. If it stands up to the protests, the current row will be forgotten. If it does not, then the refusal to grant a minute's silence will take on a new significance.

Last updated: 1:10pm, June 7 2012