Israel wants action against academic who defamed Munich athletes

Israel wants action against academic who defamed Munich athletes.

munich terrorist 88 (photo credit: )
munich terrorist 88
(photo credit: )
Neither Black September, a Palestinian terrorist group with ties to Fatah, nor incompetence on the part of German authorities was responsible for the murder of 11 Israeli athletes during the Munich Olympic Games on September 5, 1972; rather, according to a German sports historian, the athletes sacrificed themselves voluntarily. The Israeli Embassy in Berlin has demanded that German politicians take action against University of Göttingen professor Arnd Kruger, whose alleged anti-Semitic lecture has created a public row. Der Spiegel's Web site reported Saturday that Kruger, director of the Institute for Sport Studies in Göttingen, Lower Saxony, had said the murdered Israeli athletes had prior knowledge of the planned massacre and consciously decided to stay at the Olympic village to sacrifice themselves for the Jewish state. Kruger supported his martyr theory by saying there is a "different perception of the human body" in Israel compared with other industrialized nations. He also said that "Israel is trying to prevent at all costs living with disabilities" and had a higher abortion rate than other Western countries. At the Munich Olympics, terrorists associated with the Black September group killed two members of the Israeli team and took nine hostage. The group demanded that Israel release hundreds of Palestinians security prisoners in exchange for the hostages. The Palestinian terrorists eventually murdered all of the athletes and coaches, and a German policeman. Lax security in the Olympic village and German police incompetence are typically cited as the main contributors to the deaths of the athletes. Alex Feuerherdt, a journalist who has written extensively about anti-Semitism within the German soccer federation, told The Jerusalem Post, "First, a police psychologist assigned at the time claimed that the murder of the Israeli athletes was the fault of the Israeli operatives. Now a sports historian tells us that these athletes died as martyrs for Israel. These are nothing but anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. What absurd theory will come next? That the Palestinian terrorists in Munich in 1972 were actually Mossad agents?" Kruger's statement prompted Ilan Mor, the chargé d'affaires at the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, to criticize the rise in anti-Semitism masquerading as criticism of Israel. "This is the worst form of dehumanizing the state of Israel," Mor told Der Spiegel, referring to "a form of the new flared-up anti-Semitism in Germany, packaged as criticism of Israel." Kruger declined to respond to a Post e-mail. Reached on his cellphone Sunday, he said he "cannot speak because he is driving" and asked to be telephoned in an hour. Multiple calls to his landline and cellphone were not returned. Kruger issued a written statement to the university confirming his thesis, and insisted that he was not an anti-Semite. Elke Wittich, a sports journalist for the on-line magazine and the weekly paper Jungle World, told the Post this was not the first time Kruger disseminated his theory about the cause of the massacre in 1972. She said that the academic had previously published an article in the college's magazine in Göttingen blaming the Israeli athletes for their own murders. The free college publication has a circulation of 12,500. Despite his visual impairment, race-walker Shaul Ladany was able to escape the terrorist attack, and this served as evidence that the other athletes could have escaped, Kruger wrote in the magazine. Wittich said several neo-Nazi forums were citing Kruger as a hero, and questioned why the University of Göttingen permitted Kruger to spread his bizarre anti-Jewish theories. At an academic conference last week, Kruger equated the massacre by Arabs of Jews in 1929, who remained in Hebron during the pogrom, with the alleged failure of the Israeli athletes to vacate the Munich Olympic village. German pundit, Henryk M. Broder responded to Kruger's theory in his "The Axis of Good" blog on Sunday: "It is not easy to convey to people who believe in progress that anti-Semitism has nothing to do with education or lack of education - that it occurs among members of the educated classes just as often (and sometimes even more often) than among the uneducated... In the 1930s, the Nazis claimed that Jews had declared war; academics like the former Nazi military psychologist Prof. Peter R. Hofstaetter were still arguing this in the 1970s and 1980s. Part of the anti-Semitic/anti-Zionist mantra today is the claim that the Zionists collaborated with the Nazis and accepted the death of Jews to achieve their goal, the creation of Israel," he wrote. The University of Göttingen plans to review the results of a German Federation for the Science of Sports inquiry on Krüger. Martin Krauss, a journalist who covers sports for the weekly German-Jewish newspaper Die Jüdische Allgeimeine Zeitung, told the Post that if Der Spiegel's report was accurate, Kruger ought to be dismissed.