From Beijing to Munich
Fifty years after the massacre of 11 Israelis - and the demand that Americans must “learn how to lose.”
Aside from Finland’s gold-medal victory over Russia in men’s hockey, and the smallest audience in modern history, the Winter Olympics in China weren’t particularly memorable. On the other hand, 2022 marks 50 years since an Olympics of more lasting significance.
On September 5, 1972 in Munich, Palestinian terrorists of the Black September faction, disguised as athletes, forced their way into the quarters of the Israeli Olympic team. Weightlifter Yossef Romano attempted to disarm a terrorist but was shot dead and castrated, a mutilation not revealed until 2015. The carnage continued and by the next day, the terrorists had murdered eleven Israelis.
The next year, Israeli commandos killed Muhammad Abu Yousef al-Najjar, mastermind of the Munich operation. Muhammad’s son Yasser al-Najjar became a fugitive and in one account came to the United States, though documentation of his arrival is hard to find.
When National Public Radio profiled him in 2003, Yasser al-Najjar was an official of the Palestinian Authority living in Gaza. In 2012, a man named Ammar Campa-Najjar worked in the Obama administration, which never revealed that Ammar was the son of Yasser al-Najjar and grandson of Muhammad Abu Yousef al-Najjar, mastermind of the Olympic massacre.
That reality first emerged in a February, 2018, Haaretz report headlined “Grandson of Munich Massacre Terrorist Is Running for Congress.” The campaign materials of said only that he was “the son of a Mexican American mother and a Middle Eastern immigrant father.”
According to campaign materials, the “Latino Arab-American” was born in San Diego County and raised there until the family moved to Gaza for four years. When war broke out and it became unsafe to remain, Ammar and his mother and brother returned to San Diego. There he became a “youth leader,” and graduated from San Diego State “after taking time off to help reelect the president.”
The story defied belief but the establishment media declined to investigate the progressive Democrat, lest they be charged with “Islamophobia.” In 2018, Campa-Najjar ran against scandal-plagued Republican Duncan Hunter, who prevailed with 51.7 percent of the vote.
The Latino Arab-American ran again in 2020, casting himself as a conservative in favor of Second Amendment rights. Republican Darrell Issa thumped Campa-Najjar 54-46.
Campa-Najjar declined to run for the state Assembly because he thought the post should be held by a “woman of color.” The Palestinian Mexican is now running for mayor of Chula Vista, a city in southern San Diego County. The vote takes place on June 7 and state Democrats have endorsed Zaneta Encarnacion, one of five candidates in the running. Whatever the result, the Munichian candidate bears watching.
On September 6, 1972, after the massacre of eleven Israelis, Olympic boss Avery Brundage announced that the games would continue. On September 10, 1972 an all-collegian U.S. basketball team played a more experienced squad from Soviet Union.
In the closing seconds, with the USA behind 49-48, Doug Collins picked off a a Soviet pass and drove for a layup. Soviet player Zurab Sakandelidze rammed Collins hard into the basket stand. The dazed Collins was slow to get up, but in one of the great plays of all time, he stepped to the line and sank both free throws, putting the USA up 50-49. The Soviets failed to score during the final three seconds. The USA had won the game and maintained their flawless Olympic record.
As the young Americans celebrated, Renato William Jones, Secretary General of FIBA, the international basketball organization, came out of the stands and ordered the officials to put three seconds back on the clock. Jones, a friend of the Soviet Union, had no authority to make such a demand but the Olympic officials duly complied. They put time back on the clock not once, not twice, but three times.
The third time the Soviets scored a basket and the Olympic officials gave them the gold medal. As Jones quipped after the game, “The Americans have to learn how to lose, even when they think they are right.”
No U.S. president or sports official demanded that American players Mike Bantam, Jim Brewer, Tom Burleson, Doug Collins, Kenny Davis, James Forbes, Tom Henderson, Bobby Jones, Dwight Jones, Kevin Joyce, Tom McMillen and Ed Ratleff get their gold medals, otherwise the United States isn’t coming to future Olympics. One president saw the symbolism and took it to a whole new level.
Long before 1972, it was apparent that free, democratic nations with a market economy were the clear winners in liberty, opportunity and prosperity. The composite character David Garrow described in Rising Star: the Making of Barack Obama didn’t think so. On his watch the economy barely had a pulse and a bloated welfare state got even fatter.
On the security side, the composite character canceled missile defense for American allies in Europe, a big win for Russia. The former Barry Soetoro also put time back on the clock for dreary socialist gulags such as Cuba, headed by Sado-Stalinist Fidel Castro. For the composite character president, as for Renato Jones in 1972, the USA needed to learn how to lose.
The composite character enjoys a third term under Joe Biden, who wrecked the surging U.S. energy industry, another big win for Russia. Under the Biden Junta, the United States is more like Cuba, and the old USSR every day. For embattled Americans and their allies in 2022, it’s all about memory against forgetting.