Daily Israel Report

Wiesenthal Center Calls for UN Action over New IOC Head

Simon Wiesenthal Center: the new head of the IOC should resign from his membership in an organization that calls for boycotts of Israel.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 9/13/2013, 5:45 AM

New IOC President Thomas Bach
New IOC President Thomas Bach
Reuters

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is seeking action from the United Nations over the new president of the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) membership in an organization that encourages boycotts of Israel.

In a letter to the Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), Wilfried Lemke, the center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, called for newly elected IOC head, Thomas Bach, to be pressed to resign his Chairmanship of the German agency for boycott of Israel.

In the letter, published on the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s website, Samuels quoted the Olympic Truce, under General Assembly Resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1995 and the Millennium Declaration, whereby the United Nations together with the Olympic movement (IOC) aspire “to contribute to a peaceful future for humankind, through the educational value of sport … to promote maintenance of peace, mutual understanding and goodwill—goals it shares with the United Nations."

The letter noted, "Since 1988, the IOC has flown the UN flag at all competitive sites of the Olympic Games, thereby binding the UN as a partner in sharing responsibility for the positions of the IOC and their consequences."

Samuels added, "This would arguably, include the conflict of interests of newly elected IOC President, Thomas Bach, who is simultaneously Chairman of GHORFA that is the acronym for the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Established by the Arab States in the 1980s, this Chamber reputedly continues to issue certificates of negative origin, proclaiming that contractually supplied goods contain no elements of Israeli origin. Such discriminatory certificates camouflaging the boycott of Israel were banned as illegal by the German government over twenty years ago."

"Even more significant, that as IOC Vice-President, Bach reportedly argued for the denial of a moment of silence in honour of the eleven Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Munich, forty years earlier," wrote Samuels.

He added, "Under the aforementioned resolutions, the UN should have the authority to demand Bach’s resignation from his GHORFA Boycott of Israel Chairmanship. His continued maintenance of both positions will result in boycott polluting sport in violation of the declared principles of both the UN and the IOC."

The letter charged, "For Holocaust survivors and sports enthusiasts, Bach’s apparent support for those who would harm the Jewish state raises the specters of another Olympics—in Nazi Berlin in 1936."

The letter urged the Special Advisor and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to "Press IOC President Bach to devote himself to sport and not boycott."

"We would sorely lament the impugning of both the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations as a consequence of Thomas Bach's Presidency," concluded Samuels.

The IOC was in the news last year when it repeatedly rejected calls to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of the games in London for the 11 Israeli athletes who were murdered during the 1972 Munich Olympics.

The former head of the IOC, Jacques Rogge, claimed that the opening ceremony is “not fit” to remember the Munich Massacre.

After the IOC continued to refuse calls to hold a moment of silence, even when presented with a petition by the widows of two the victims, a memorial ceremony for the 11 was held in London on the sidelines of the games.