Jewish leadership tells Rogge: your presence is not enough

By Jenni Frazer, August 10, 2012

Mick Davis, chair of the UJIA and the Jewish Leadership Council, spoke on behalf of the community at the Guildhall ceremony to commemorate the Munich athletes. In unusually trenchant remarks, addressed directly to Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, he said: "We - British citizens, Israelis, Jews and all people of conscience – are here this evening to honour the memory of the victims.

"To remember their names.

"To share the pain and anguish of their families, and to demand, that those in a position and with the authority to do so, take the responsibility that only they can: to acknowledge, in the official Olympic programme, unambiguously and publicly the murderous terrorist attack that was perpetrated against the 11 Israeli Olympians and to remember.

"For as we gather here in London, a dark shadow still hangs over the International Olympic Committee.

"It is a shadow that has grown darker and deeper with the passing of each of the 40 years, as the IOC has failed to give due recognition to the events that took place under its umbrella, on its watch.

"Mr President, on behalf of the British Jewish community, supported by the political leadership of this great country – The Prime Minister, David Cameron, the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg and the leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband and many of their colleagues, we say to the IOC that to be silent is to be complicit.

"Mr Rogge, as president of the IOC, you have chosen to be here tonight. Your presence is itself an important personal statement to your colleagues at the IOC. And you have done much more than your predecessors. But, Mr Rogge, it is not enough.

"I once heard Elie Wiesel say that the opposite of love is not hate. The opposite of love is indifference.

"We are assembled here this evening because we are not indifferent. We are not indifferent to the terrible events of Munich 40 years ago.

"And no matter the passing of time, we lament and deplore the silence, and apparent indifference of others.

"Jewish history, has taught us that to remember, requires a positive act. That same history has also taught us that to fail to remember is to be complicit.

"To fail to remember is to be complicit.

"Whilst no-one can undo the tragedy of Munich, surely it is your obligation now, the duty of the entire Olympic movement which you represent, to end the pain and injustice that the IOC’s official silence has meant for the memory of the victims and their families.

"If the notion of the Olympic ideal is to retain its meaning and its value, the IOC as the custodian of that ideal must not remain silent.

"You must not be complicit.

"As has been said this evening, it is never too late to do the right thing. With the eyes of the world on London, that time is now.

"Let not your legacy be one of silence and complicity but rather one of action, one of responsibility, one of leadership, one of compassion.

"And above all, let not your legacy be one of indifference, but rather one of love."

    Last updated: 8:02am, August 10 2012