Representing the Government of Israel, Culture and Sports Minister Limor
Livnat spoke at the memorial ceremony for the 11 Israeli athletes killed in the 1972 Munich
Prime Minister David Cameron,
Family members of the 11 murdered Israeli athletes.
gathered here this evening to honor our eleven fallen heroes. Fathers, husbands,
brothers, sons. Sons of our nation. Olympic sons. For us, the memory of our
athletes slain in Munich by Palestinian terrorists, is forever etched in our
collective soul. For us, our national soul is something we each take personally.
King Solomon ruled in Israel's capital city, Jerusalem, around the same time
the first Olympic Games were first held in ancient Greece. In his wisdom he
said: "There is a time for everything under the heavens."
And allow me to paraphrase: There is a time to speak out, and there is a time
to be silent.
On the 17th of June, 2012, the German magazine, Der Spiegel, reported that
German Neo-Nazis were accomplices to the Munich massacre of 1972. The report
documents how the Palestinian terrorists of "Black September" enjoyed logistical
support from local Neo-Nazis.
This comes as no surprise. There is a line to be drawn from Auschwitz to
Munich, and from Munich to Burgas, where Israeli tourists were murdered by
terrorists just three weeks ago. It is the murder of Jews simply because they
are Jews. Jewish athletes, Jewish tourists, and just plain Jews.
There is a difference though. The intention of the murderers is the same, but
the status of the victims has changed.
In 1942 there was no Jewish state, and European Jewry was annihilated. It was
a time to speak out, but the world was silent. In 1972 there was a Jewish state,
a state which held the murderers accountable and insisted that justice be done.
And 40 years later, in 2012, the perpetrators of the Burgas
terrorist attack will not escape justice, because in the face of terror, it
is never time to be silent.
Silence in the face of evil - affords evil victory. And lack of silence for
the victims of evil - affords evil a moral victory.
When the Olympic Games were first held in ancient Greece, the Greek
city-states, were more often than not, at war. In order for the games to go on,
a "Sacred Truce" was adopted by all warring parties, so that the games could
continue in peace, and the crowds could travel safely.
The murderers of our athletes at Munich did not understand what the Greeks
understood two and a half millenis ago. The fire of the Olympic torch, is
intended to illuminate, not to consume. The Olympics come to advance human
achievement - terrorism comes to negate it. The Olympic spirit comes to
celebrate human life - terrorism comes to celebrate death.
Those who called on the IOC to hold an official and public moment of silence
to honor the memory of Israel's slain athletes understand this: President Obama
and the United States Senate, the parliaments of Germany, Australia and Canada,
understand. Regrettably, their pleas were rejected.
For that reason, during the speeches at the opening ceremony, I insisted on
my own moment of silence. But I was not alone. Millions, all over the world,
lovers of sports and lovers of humanity, were with me in silent awe. In my
silence, I spoke for them.
In deafening silence, we unite with the memory of our eleven athletes. They
passed us a torch, and with a heavy but confident heart, we pledge to carry the
torch forward. And the time for that, is now, and forever.
* * *
British Prime Minister David Cameron: "This evening
we mark the 40th anniversary of one of the darkest days in the history of the
Olympic Games. A sickening act of terrorism that betrayed everything the Olympic
movement stands for and everything that we in Britain believe in.
As the world comes together in London to celebrate the Games and the values
it represents, it is right that we should stop and remember the 11 Israeli
athletes who so tragically lost their lives when those values came under attack
in Munich 40 years ago."
* * *
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle: "40 years
ago, deadly terror struck the Olympic Games in my country. The images of Munich
1972 are burned into the German collective memory. The victims of the heinous
attack in Munich deserve a dignified memory. Our words and our silence belong to
I assure you that Germany has not forgotten. Germany looks back in mourning.
We can't bring the dead back to life, but it is our duty to honor their