Wiesenthal Centre to UN Special Advisor on Sport: "Press IOC President To Resign Forthwith From Chairmanship of German Agency for Boycott of Israel"

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“'Olympic Truce' General Assembly Resolution 48/11 Binds the UN in Sharing the Responsibility for IOC Positions and their Consequences.”

Paris, 12 September 2013

In a letter to Special Advisor to the UN Secretary-General on Sport for Development and Peace (UNOSDP), Wilfried Lemke (pictured), the Simon Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, called for newly elected International Olympic Committee President to be pressed to resign forthwith his Chairmanship of German agency for boycott of Israel.

Samuels quoted "the Olympic Truce, under General Assembly Resolution 48/11 of 25 October 1995 and the Millennium Declaration, whereby the United Nations together with the Olympic movement (IOC) aspire “to contribute to a peaceful future for humankind, through the educational value of sport … to promote maintenance of peace, mutual understanding and goodwill—goals it shares with the United Nations."

The letter noted, "Since 1988, the IOC has flown the UN flag at all competitive sites of the Olympic Games, thereby binding the UN as a partner in sharing responsibility for the positions of the IOC and their consequences."

Samuels argued, "This would arguably, include the conflict of interests of newly elected IOC President, Thomas Bach, who is simultaneously Chairman of GHORFA (a vaulted room in Arabic) that is the acronym for the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Established by the Arab States in the 1980s, this Chamber reputedly continues to issue certificates of negative origin, proclaiming that contractually supplied goods contain no elements of Israeli origin. Such discriminatory certificates camouflaging the boycott of Israel were banned as illegal by the German government over twenty years ago."

The letter considered, "Even more significant, that as IOC Vice-President, Bach reportedly argued for the denial of a moment of silence in honour of the eleven Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinian terrorists in Munich, forty years earlier."

Samuels again suggested, "Under the aforementioned resolutions, the UN should have the authority to demand Bach’s resignation from his GHORFA Boycott of Israel Chairmanship," adding, "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."

The letter charged, "For Holocaust survivors and sports enthusiasts, Bach’s apparent support for those who would harm the Jewish state raises the spectres of another Olympics—in Nazi Berlin in 1936."

The letter urged the Special Advisor and the Secretary-General to "Press IOC President Bach to devote himself to sport and not boycott."

"We would sorely lament the impugning of both the International Olympic Committee and the United Nations as a consequence of Thomas Bach's Presidency," concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (PARLATINO).