For 49 years through 11 consecutive Olympic Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) refused to formally honor the memory of 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.
The Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) lobbied for the Los Angeles Games back in 1984 to do just that. Our pleas fell on deaf ears and instead we convened our own memorial at the SWC for the families – including for Mimi Weinberg and her young son, Guri Weinberg, who still grieve for Israeli wrestler Moshe Weinberg, whose heroics allowed other athletes to escape while he blocked the murderers at the door. He paid with his own life. We should all be grateful to the Japanese Olympic Committee for choosing to do the right thing at the Opening Ceremony of the COVID-delayed 2020 games currently underway in Tokyo.
Remembering those Israelis killed a half century ago with a moment of silence provided a rare moment of moral clarity for an Olympic movement that has been playing catch-up since they handed Adolf Hitler global legitimacy in 1936. And the IOC seems bent on providing Chinese President Xi Jinping such a coveted prize next year, despite the regime’s genocide of the Uyghurs.
When confronted with the trail of infamy, IOC’s defenders assert that they act based on discussions, international deliberations and consensus, and that sometimes they just get it wrong.
But this year, it took but one day for the IOC to once again dim the Olympic flame.
The event that took place on the medal podium is so outrageous, so despicable, that the IOC itself should immediately revoke the gold medal awarded to Iranian Olympian Javad Foroughi. Then they should urge the Japanese authorities to demand Interpol issue a warrant for the man’s arrest.
When Foroughi knocked off his competitors to win the gold in air pistol shooting he caught the attention of activists, including us, around the world.
It was a dystopian moment. What most viewers did not know is how Foroughi refined his exquisite and unmatched skill set.
Like other members of the Basij militia, a US-designated foreign terrorist group affiliated with Iran’s International Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Foroughi honed his craft during Syria’s civil war – where Syrian civilians, mostly women and children, were often, and intentionally, put in the crosshairs of live bullets.
Foroughi isn’t ashamed of his service to the Iranian regime, nor is anyone even trying to hide it. Iran boasted of his service on state TV where Foroughi actually declared that the greatest honor in life was to fight on behalf of Iran’s genocidal, Holocaust-denying leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
Treating Foroughi like any other athlete is an Olympian affront to the families and friends of all the innocent victims – dead and maimed – of the Iranian regime and its terrorist lackeys from Iraq and Syria, to Lebanon, Israel and Yemen. This includes Tehran’s latest targeted victims. Over the last week, Iran’s courageous citizens have been threatened, arrested, and even murdered during protests that erupted from the oil-rich but water-starved Khuzestan region to Azerbaijani Iranians in Tabriz and now, during the Tokyo Olympic Games, in Tehran itself.
One famous Iranian athlete won’t be competing in Tokyo: wrestler Navid Afkari.
Afkari can’t compete. He was executed last year for daring to protest the regime’s crimes against the Iranian people, including the mullahs’ suppression of all human rights, especially the rights of minorities, women and girls.
This moment of infamy is but the latest, almost daily, example of the kid-glove treatment bestowed on this tyrannical regime by diplomats in the United States and Europe and complicity silent human rights NGOs.
The cognitive dissonance is breathtaking and guarantees more assaults on human dignity by Tehran.
Already almost forgotten is the foiled plot earlier this month when Iranian intelligence officials were indicted by the US for planning to kidnap famed women’s rights activist and journalist Masih Alinejad, now a US citizen, on American soil. Had the audacious plan succeeded, she would have been smuggled via boat to Venezuela and then flown for “trial” (read execution) in Iran.
It’s difficult to stay focused on the IOC’s errors at the Olympics, when on the same day the kidnapping plot was exposed, US Iran envoy Robert Malley lifted sanctions on Iran for the second time in weeks.
It is apparent that there is little the US or European players won’t forgive to get Tehran to allow Washington to reenter the ill-fated 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal which Tehran cheated on from its onset.
What more does the godfather of terrorism in Tehran have to do before the world says “enough!”
We submit it starts with the disqualification of a child-killing, Iranian terrorist from the Olympic Games and the arrest of Javad Foroughi as an international war criminal.
Failure to act will not only make a mockery of the Olympic ideals but further embolden a nuclearizing ayatollah who sees there is no red line and no accountability for a regime that crushes its own people, deploys terrorists around the world, and openly threatens genocide against Israel.