Wiesenthal Center urges UN to press Olympic chief on pro-boycott stance

Thomas Bach, the new president of the International Olympic Committee, supports boycott of Israeli products.

September 13, 2013 01:44
1 minute read.
Incoming IOC chief Thomas Bach and Jacques Rogge

Incoming IOC chief Thomas Bach and Jacques Rogge 370. (photo credit: Reuters)

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is urging the United Nations to pressure the International Olympic Committee to force its newly elected president, Thomas Bach, to resign his position as head of a German organization that advocates boycotting Israeli products, Israel Radio reported late Thursday.

Bach, a former fencer who went on to head the German Olympic Committee, is considered a controversial figure due to his position as chairman of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, a body which supports boycotting Israeli-made products.

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In a letter to the UN special advisor on sport, the head of the Simon Wiesenthal Center’s international relations department, Shimon Samuels, said that Bach’s support for boycotting Israeli products as well as his backing the IOC’s decision to refrain from officially commemorating the slain Israeli athletes from the 1972 Munich games creates a conflict of interest.

"Under the aforementioned resolutions, the UN should have the authority to demand Bach’s resignation from his GHORFA Boycott of Israel Chairmanship," Samuels wrote to the special advisor, Wilfried Lemke. "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."

"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."

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