A coalition of Jewish groups are reminding the public of how Hitler used the 1936 Munich Olympics to bolster his regime, and they are asking Jews not to support the Olympics in Beijing.
Rabbi Yitz Greenberg, past chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, said signers are not alleging that the Chinese government is the equivalent of the Nazi regime, but that China, like Germany in 1936, is trying to use the Olympics as a public relations tool to deflect attention from its record.
The declaration was organized by Greenberg and Rabbi Haskel Lookstein of New York — both Orthodox Jews — and the Washington-based David S. Wyman Institute for Holocaust Studies.
Several representatives of Judaism's major U.S. branches and large Jewish institutions signed on. They include Rabbi Eric Yoffie, president of the Union for Reform Judaism; Neil Goldstein and Richard Gordon of the American Jewish Congress; and Rabbi Joel Meyers, executive vice president of the Rabbinical Assembly, an association of Conservative rabbis.
Americans only seem to remember Jesse Owens and they forget how important the Olympics were to Nazi Germany.