A guest blog by David Dranikoff
We live in an era where few people are held responsible for their misbehavior. The consequences often seem to fall on the system rather than on the people. Personal responsibility is the willingness to both accept the importance of standards that society establishes for individual behavior and to make strenuous personal efforts to live by those standards.
But personal responsibility also means that when individuals fail to meet expected standards, they don’t look around for some factor outside themselves to blame. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a perfect example of an organization and its Board of Directors behaving very badly.
Forty years ago, 11 Israeli athletes were brutally murdered at the 1972 Olympics. The bereaved families have asked the IOC to honor the athletes with one minute of silence. The families are not attacking it for its inadequate security. They are not attacking the German government for a rescue plan that went very bad. They are only asking the IOC for one minute of silence, which it has refused to do. This refusal cannot go unnoticed by the Jewish community of Greater MetroWest NJ.
Deborah Lipstadt, author of the books Denying the Holocaust and The Eichmann Trial and Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, wrote “This is the greatest tragedy to ever occur during the Olympic Games. Yet the IOC has made it quite clear that these victims are not worth 60 seconds. Imagine for a moment that these athletes had been from the United States, Canada, Australia, or even Germany. No one would think twice about commemorating them. But these athletes came from a country and a people who somehow deserve to be victims. Their lost lives are not worth a minute.”
The CRC’s Israel and World Affairs Committee is asking every synagogue, every Jewish agency, every Jewish and non-Jewish person in the State of New Jersey to remember the 11 Israeli athletes this Friday, July 27, at 9:30 a.m. by reading the names or just standing for one minute in silence. For those unable to do so, we ask that you please remember the 11 Israeli athletes before you light Shabbat candles or at Shabbat services in Friday night or Saturday morning.
Let it not be said that this community does not have one minute to remember.
Personal responsibility is taking responsibility for your actions, accepting the consequences that come from those actions, and understanding that what you do impacts those around you.
David Dranikoff is chair of CRC’s Israel & World Affairs Committee.