A Palestinian official on Thursday weighed in on the debate surrounding demands for a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. He claimed that expressing solidarity with the 11 victims of a terror attack at the 1972 Munich Olympics would constitute “racism,” the Palestinian media watchdog Palestinian Media Watch reported.
Jibril Rajoub, the former head of the Preventive Security Force and current president of the Palestinian Olympic Committee, sent a letter Tuesday to IOC President Jacques Rogge thanking him for his refusal to allow a moment of silence in memory of the slain Israeli athletes during the opening ceremony of the Olympics July 27.
“Sports are a bridge for love, communication and the spreading of peace between nations and should not be used for divisiveness and the spread of racism,” Rajoub wrote Rogge, according to PMW.
Rajoub demanded last month — as president of the Palestinian Football Association — to bar Israel from hosting the European under-21 Championship in 2013 for jailing a Palestinian footballer, Mahmoud Sarsak, who has since been released.
In an interview with AFP Monday, Rajoub said that the Palestinian Olympic team was prepared to “confront the Israeli provocations” at the Olympics, referring to the Israeli demand for a moment of silence on July 27. Rajoub added that “sport in Palestine is a means to achieve national goals” as well as “a tool of struggle to present the Palestinian cause.”
The Black September group, which carried out the 1972 massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich Olympic village, belonged to the Fatah movement of whose Central Committee Rajoub is a member.
Palestinian Authority officials honored one of the planners of the attack, Amin Al-Hindi, in an official military funeral in August 2010, which was attended by PA President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, PMW noted.
No comment was available from Israel’s Olympic committee at the time of publication.