In 1996, I, along with other Munich orphans and three of the widows, were invited for the first time to the Olympic Games in Atlanta. Before the Opening Ceremony, we met with Alex Gilady. Gilady has been a member of the IOC’s Radio and Television Commission since 1984 and has been the senior vice president of NBC Sports since 1996.
I have known Mr. Gilady since I was a kid; in fact, I grew up with his daughter. He had been supportive in the past regarding our plea for a moment of silence during the Opening Ceremonies, so we arrived with high hopes. Gilady informed us that a moment of silence was not possible because if the IOC had a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes, they would also have to do the same for the Palestinians who died at the Olympics in 1972.
My mother said, “But no Palestinian athletes died.”
Gilady responded, “Well, there were Palestinians who died at the 1972 Olympics.”
I heard one of the widows say to Gilady, “Are you equating the murder of my husband to the terrorists that killed him?”
While Gilady’s statement is outrageously shocking, las Shabbat, I decided he was at least somewhat right. After all, Palestinians did die at the Munich OLympics, and we should remember them, too. That’s why, if you look at the prayer I posted here for remembering the martyrs of that time, I explicitly remember the Palestinian terrorists, too. For the athletes, I say, May G”d shelter them under the Wings of His Presence.
Conversely, for those Palestinians, I made sure to add ימח שמם וזכרם, May their memory be blotted out, meaning, may no one ever say anything kind or good about them, because there is nothing good or kind worthy saying about any of those terrorrists, about any of their enablers or about any of their avid supporters. So let’s all apply this good wish to them, may their memory be blotted out, because after all, it wouldn’t be fair to only remember the Israeli athletes.