Do Only Some Massacres Matter?

by ALISON WEIR

The Washington Post has published a moving article, “Russian Jews remember Israeli athletes murdered at 1972 Munich Olympic Games.” Unfortunately, it gets a few things wrong and provides a one-sided context for the tragedy.

Allow me to correct the report and fill in a few of the missing facts.

Just 23 years before the Olympic incident, Israel had been created through ethnically cleansing much of the indigenous Palestinian population.

This had been accomplished through at least 33 massacres and was maintained in the years following by still more acts of ethnic cleansing and additional massacres. (These included areas from which the Munich kidnappers came).

Five years before the Munich incident, Israel violently conquered even more Palestinian land (illegal under international law), pushing out another 325,000+ Palestinian men, women, and children, and killing at least 13,000 Arabs in all. About 800 Israelis died.

The violence continued, and beginning in 1968 Israeli forces repeatedly savaged 150 or more towns and villages in south Lebanon alone. By the time of the Munich Olympics, Israel held hundreds of prisoners in its notorious prison system.

It is widely known, but rarely stated, that the goal of the Munich hostage-taking was not to kill them; it was to return the athletes to Israel in return for Israel returning its Palestinian prisoners.

Many of these prisoners were also young people, and, if we could have seen them, they might have looked very much like the Israeli athletes, minus the physical health. Israel is not known for its merciful treatment of those it dislikes.

When the Israeli government refused to consider an exchange, the German police, with the Mossad at hand, were pushed into an ill-planned rescue attempt in which some of the hostages (no one knows how many) were killed accidentally by the police, and a German policeman was also killed.

The day after the botched and unnecessary “rescue,” Israel launched heavy air attacks against Lebanon and Syria, killing between 200 and 500 Lebanese, Syrians and Palestinians, mostly civilians.

While Washington Post reporter Kathy Lally gives a great deal of information about the position of Russian Jews, going back over 100 years, it would have been valuable for her to tell a little about what the Munich incident was about – and about all the tragic victims of violence connected to the event, not just the 11 preferred ones.

Alison Weir is the executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of the upcoming history of US-Israel relations, Against Our Better Judgment, to be released next month.

 

Alison Weir is executive director of  If Americans Knew and president of the Council for the National Interest. An excerpt of her book was published in the March 21-23, 2014 issue of CounterPunch. Upcoming book talks can be seen on the book’s website.

Like What You’ve Read? Support CounterPunch
Weekend Edition
August 28-30, 2015
Andrew Levine
Viva Trump?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Long Time Coming, Long Time Gone
Mike Whitney
Looting Made Easy: the $2 Trillion Buyback Binge
Alan Nasser
The Myth of the Middle Class: Have Most Americans Always Been Poor?
Rob Urie
Wall Street and the Cycle of Crises
Ismael Hossein-Zadeh
Behind the Congressional Disagreements Over the Iran Nuclear Deal
Lawrence Ware – Marcus T. McCullough
I Won’t Say Amen: Three Black Christian Clichés That Must Go
Evan Jones
Zionism in Britain: a Neglected Chronicle
John Wight
Learning About the Migration Crisis From Ancient Rome
Andre Vltchek
Lebanon – What if it Fell?
Robert Fantina
Hillary Clinton, Palestine and the Long View
Randy Blazak
Donald Trump is the New Face of White Supremacy
Ben Burgis
Gore Vidal Was Right: What Best of Enemies Leaves Out
Suzanne Gordon
How Vets May Suffer From McCain’s Latest Captivity
Robert Sandels - Nelson P. Valdés
The Cuban Adjustment Act: the Other Immigration Mess
Uri Avnery
The Molten Three: Israel’s Aborted Strike on Iran
John Stanton
Israel’s JINSA Earns Return on Investment: 190 Americans Admirals and Generals Oppose Iran Deal
Bill Yousman
The Fire This Time: Ta-Nehisi Coates’s “Between the World and Me”
Michael Welton
The Conversable World: Finding a Compass in Post-9/11 Times
Brian Cloughley
Don’t be Black in America
Charles Pierson
How the US and the WTO Crushed India’s Subsidies for Solar Energy
Kent Paterson
In Search of the Great New Mexico Chile Pepper in a Post-NAFTA Era
Binoy Kampmark
Live Death on Air: The Killings at WDBJ
Gui Rochat
The Guise of American Democracy
Emma Scully
Vultures Over Puerto Rico: the Financial Implications of Dependency
Chuck Churchill
Is “White Skin Privilege” the Key to Understanding Racism?
Kathleen Wallace
The Id(iots) Emerge
Andrew Stewart
Zionist Hip-Hop: a Critical Look at Matisyahu
Gregg Shotwell
The Fate of the UAW: Study, Aim, Fire
Halyna Mokrushyna
Decentralization Reform in Ukraine
Scott Parkin
Katrina Plus Ten: Climate Justice in Action
Norman Pollack
World Capitalism, a Basket Case: A Layman’s View
Sarah Lazare
Listening to Iraq
John Laforge
NSP/Xcel Energy Falsified Welding Test Documents on Rad Waste Casks
Wendell G Bradley
Drilling for Wattenberg Oil is Not Profitable
Joy First
Wisconsin Walk for Peace and Justice: Nine Arrested at Volk Field
Mel Gurtov
China’s Insecurity
Mateo Pimentel
An Operator’s Guide to Trump’s Racism
Yves Engler
Harper Conservatives and Abuse of Power
Michael Dickinson
Police Guns of Brixton: Another Unarmed Black Shot by London Cops
Ron Jacobs
Daydream Sunset: a Playlist
Charles R. Larson
The Beginning of the Poppy Wars: Amitav Ghosh’s “Flood of Fire”
David Yearsley
A Rising Star Over a Dark Forest
August 27, 2015
Sam Husseini
Foreign Policy, Sanders-Style: Backing Saudi Intervention
Brad Evans – Henry A. Giroux
Self-Plagiarism and the Politics of Character Assassination: the Case of Zygmunt Bauman