A letter to The Globe and Mail (not published)
American exceptionalism permitted a commemoration of 9/11 at the 2002 Salt Lake City games because, well, America is exceptional (letter–July 25). But there will be no comparable commemoration in London of the 40th anniversary of the massacre in Munich of Israeli athletes because, well, Israel is exceptional, but not as exceptional as the U.S. The Israeli athletes were killed in Munich in 1972 by Palestinians, angered at their dispossession and occupation by Israel. I do not justify what they did, and I grieve with those who continue to grieve the murder of the Israeli athletes as well as with the Palestinians who continue to grieve the loss of their homeland.
At the same time, the discussions around how to commemorate Munich in 2012 serve to remind us that the issue which motivated those angry Palestinians in 1972 has still not been resolved 40 years later. This being so, I would favour a commemoration of the Munich massacre at the opening ceremony in London.
One small step ahead: five Palestinian athletes will compete in London. But not until all the other steps have been taken to bring about the moment when justice has been done for Palestine will there be security for Israel, after which both sides will be able to grieve together as part of living together in peace. One shining example of how this is already happening is the Bereaved Parents’ Circle, which brings together the parents of Israeli and Palestinian children killed in the conflict. “The journey of ten thousand miles ….”