Munich Olympics

Vindicated Journalism, like politics, makes strange bedfellows.

In the case of the Nomi Winkler complaint to the Press Council I support the Globe & Mail.

Ms. Winkler suggests that the Globe understated the viciousness of the Palestinian "attack" on Israeli athletes at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. In fact, the intention of the Palestinians was simply to kidnap the Israelis and offer them in exchange for Palestinian political prisoners held by Israel.

To avoid bloodshed the German Government had promised the hostage- takers safe passage out of the country. It was the Government of Israel who sealed the fate of their own athletes by strongly insisting, against the pleadings of the German authorities, that the guarantee of safe passage be dishonored and the Palestinians met with force.

The outcome, as predicted by the reluctant Germans, was a shoot-out, in which the athletes inevitably died. It would be quite unfair to blame the aggrieved and desperate Palestinians (themselves the victims of innumerable real massacres by Israelis) for Israeli callousness towards their own kind.


Ian Macdonald

March 20, 1990