Olympics

'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012 'Security' row over Munich tribute at 2012

By Leon Symons

Allegations that a police trainer has labelled a proposed commemoration of the Munich Olympics massacre at the 2012 London Olympics "a security threat" have been vehemently denied.

An Islamic scholar, hired by Scotland Yard to train police on interfaith issues, had warned that a commemoration ceremony "could become a national security threat if it was not managed properly and was perceived by Muslims to be ‘hijacking' the Games", The Times reported this week.

The scholar, Sheikh Michael Mumisa, was addressing senior officers from the Yard's Transport Operations Command Unit during a two-day training course on faith and interfaith, held last month at the Woolf Institute for the Study of Jewish-Christian and Jewish-Muslim Relations in Cambridge. The course was the first of its kind held by the Institute.

Its executive director, Edward Kessler, said: "Sheikh Mumisa's words have been twisted in a way that is not accurate. I know what was said because I was there throughout the course. We were very unhappy with what appeared because it did not reflect the course that the officers took.

"We are not experts in terrorism, we are experts in faith and interfaith and that's what they were here to learn. It was a very positive programme which dealt with subjects including antisemitism and Islamophobia.

"The possibility of a ceremony to commemorate the Munich Olympics massacre was mentioned as being key to the Jewish community. But it was discussed in terms of one type of commemoration being wholly appropriate and another being wholly inappropriate. The police would have to deal with the situation on the ground and the point was that they should be aware of the sensitivities of each faith community. It was certainly not talked of as a ‘national security threat' or the Games being ‘hijacked'."

Sheikh Mumisa was not at the Institute and could not be contacted for a comment. Eleven Israeli athletes were killed by the Palestinian Black September group at the 1972 Munich Games. The 2012 Games will mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said that any commemoration would be "up to the families of those who died, with the Israel Olympic Association and, ultimately, the International Olympic Committee to decide what it will be".



Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/7497/security-row-over-munich-tribute-2012

London Olympics to mark Munich killings

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by Leon Symons


A special event to mark the 40th anniversary of the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes is to be held during the 2012 Olympics in London.


A new body called the London Olympic Jewish Organising Committee, set up to link the capital's Jewish community with the Games, has held preliminary discussions with the London Organising Committee, the Israeli Olympic Association, and has had an initial meeting with the Mayor of London's office.


Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, which has helped set up LOJOC, said:
"We believe it is important that arguably the worst episode in Olympic history is marked in a most sensitive way.


"We are liaising with the Israeli Olympic Association, which is representing the families of those who died in the attack and I understand that it will be up to the families to decide ultimately what the commemoration should be.


"All of this is at a very early stage and everything will have to go before the International Olympic Committee," said Mr Goldberg. "So far, we have had very positive responses."


LOJOC has been formed initially by the Forum, Maccabi UK and UJIA. Mr Goldberg said it was hoped other communal organisations would join them.


The new committee will develop a programme of events around the Games for a number of different
purposes.


It wants to involve Jewish schools and their communities in meeting Jewish Olympians; the development of welfare, culture and religious services for Jewish athletes in the Olympic Village; a London 2012 Jewish website for visitors to the Games; the long-term legacy for the Jewish community within the five Olympic Boroughs and utilising sports to bring groups together and celebrate the cultural diversity of the city.


"This was a key platform that won London the bid in the first place," said Mr Goldberg.


"We know that in Atlanta and Sydney Jewish athletes visited members of the local communities, and we want to offer the same hospitality here for Jews who might be a long way from home."


The London Olympics Jewish Organising Committee is looking to involve the capital's community in the Games. It is already working with the Games Committee, Government, other communities in the capital and various Olympic Associations from Israel and other countries.

Source URL:
http://www.thejc.com/articles/london-olympics-mark-munich-killings

Kosher Big Mac offer for the Olympics

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By Leon Symons
  • A mouth-watering prospect has been raised for the London Olympics in three years’ time —and it has nothing to do with sport.

Orthodox Jews who are enthusiastic sports fans usually ensure they have something to eat at such events by taking a packed lunch.

But that might not be necessary if the Jewish Committee for the London Games, part of the London Jewish Forum, gets its way.

It has asked the Games’ organisers to set up kosher food stands provided by the Games’ main food sponsor, McDonald’s.

Alex Goldberg, chief executive of the London Jewish Forum, said: “We have told the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) that there is no reason why there could not be a kosher — and for that matter halal — food stand run by Mcdonald’s.

“LOCOG has to deal with food diversity, which it will probably do through its faith reference group, and is taking this quite seriously. There is certainly a commercial model with large numbers of Jews and Muslims living around the area of the Olympic Park who will want to go the Games. It makes sense to have food on offer that they can eat.

“McDonald’s has a large number of outlets in Israel, a considerable number of which are kosher. So it has experience of working with kosher food,” said Mr Goldberg.

He said that the Forum had received support for the move from the East London mosque in Whitechapel.

He added that food was not the only matter to be considered by the faith reference group.

“There will be issues such as whether or not Orthodox Jews would be able to pay on Friday for food on Shabbat. Both Tisha b’Av and Ramadan fall during the Games, so there will be talks about faith provision in the Olympic Village.”

A spokeswoman for the London 2012 Organising Committee said: “Our food strategy covers the issue of catering for diverse dietary requirements which includes kosher and halal food. This will be a key part of our catering requirements.”


Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/14280/kosher-big-mac-offer-olympics

The Olympic kippah for Jewish volunteers

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By Marcus Dysch

Volunteers at the London 2012 Olympic Games will be offered the chance to wear an "Olympic kippah" as part of their uniform.
The specially-designed yarmulke will form part of the official attire for Jewish members of the 70,000-strong volunteering team.
The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) has held discussions with representatives of the Jewish community to discuss provisions, including kosher food, which will be needed for Jewish competitors and visitors to the capital.
Alex Goldberg, of the Jewish Committee for the London Games (JCLG), said: "We are steering LOCOG towards the model used by the British Army, which is quite advanced in yarmulke wear. There are examples of matching yarmulkes to uniforms.
"We have not got there yet, but the Olympic yarmulke may well be a crocheted one, in the same colour as the uniform."
An Olympic snood may also be produced, in the hope that religious women volunteers will come forward to offer their services at the Games.
"Strictly Orthodox people may want to volunteer and they should have the chance to have appropriate uniforms," said Mr Goldberg. The JCLG is stepping up its preparations for the Olympics and discussions with LOCOG on a range of issues affecting the Jewish community are said to be progressing well.
JCLG was consulted on the creation of the Games' mascots, Wenlock and Mandeville, which were launched last month.
In their first online adventure, Mandeville discovers the history of the Paralympics, which were founded by Sir Ludwig Guttman, a German Jewish doctor who settled in London after fleeing Nazi persecution.
Jewish Olympians from previous Games will also be recruited to help promote London 2012 to the community.
One ambassador is likely to be the Holocaust survivor Ben Helfgott, who represented Britain at the 1956 Games in Melbourne, and again four years later in Rome.
He captained the weightlifting team on both occasions.
Others approached for the roles include Susie Halter, who swam for the Hungarian team in the last London Games in 1948, and Allan Jay, who competed in fencing for Britain at five Olympics, winning two gold medals in Rome in 1960.
JCLG also hopes at least one ambassador will come from abroad. Boaz Kramer, an Israeli wheelchair tennis player who won the silver medal in the Paralympics doubles competition in Beijing in 2008, is likely to offer his services.
Mr Goldberg said: "Boaz wants to meet the British Jewish community and go into schools. He is a great role model.
"There are a number of countries who have realistic Jewish medal hopes for 2012.
"We already have Jewish sporting heroes here in London. We need to make the Olympics relevant to our community and to show that we can overcome some of the stereotypes in the community about our involvement in sport."
Jewish schoolchildren are likely to play a prominent role in the welcoming ceremony for the Israeli team, he said.
Source URL: http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/32899/the-olympic-kippah-jewish-volunteers