From Black September to Bloody December

Islamic terrorist savagery, then and now.

On December 2, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik murdered 14 people in San Bernardino, California. That horrific terrorist attack, the worst since 911, overshadowed another story that emerged the same day and on the same theme: the true nature of Islamic terrorism.

On September 5, 1972, during the Olympic Games in Munich, Palestinian terrorists took 11 Israeli athletes hostage. They shot weightlifter Yossef Romano when he fought back, and as the December 2, 2015 New York Times noted, “he was then left to die in front of the other hostages and castrated. Other hostages were beaten and sustained serious injuries, including broken bones.”

The Black September terrorists, a branch of the PLO, killed Romano and another hostage at the Olympic village and the others during a failed rescue attempt at an airport. The attack dominated the news but not all the details emerged. The German authorities knew about the mutilation of Yossef Romano and the savage beatings of others but kept this information under wraps.

Twenty years later in 1992, as the New York Times story charted, Israeli widows Ilana Romano and Ankie Spitzer, whose husband Andre was a fencing coach, met with their lawyer, Pinchas Zeltzer. On a trip to Munich Zeltzer had gone through hundreds of pages of reports the German authorities had declined to reveal. The attorney gained possession of some photographs which the women, against his advice, insisted on viewing. The lawyer even wanted a doctor present when they did view the pictures.

“What they did is that they cut off his genitals through his underwear and abused him,” Ilano Romano told the Times. “Can you imagine the nine others sitting around tied up? They watched this.” For Ankie Spitzer, the mutilation resolved a key issue.

“The terrorists always claimed that they didn’t come to murder anyone – they only wanted to free their friends from prison in Israel,” Ankie Spitzer told the Times.

“They said it was only because of the botched-up rescue operation at the airport that they killed the rest of the hostages, but it’s not true. They came to hurt people. They came to kill.”

In the aftermath, as the Times story noted, security breaches became the major focus, not what had happened to the victims. Ankie Spitzer repeatedly pressed for details but was told there was nothing. The widows only received confirmation 20 years later in 1992, and then, for the most part, kept the grisly details to themselves. A forthcoming documentary, Munich 1972 & Beyond, will chronicle the story but some realities are already evident.

The politically correct shy away from the use of terms such as “savagery” in the description of terrorism, particularly as practiced by Islamic terrorists. The beating of hostages and castration of Yossef Romano confirm that this language is appropriate. (The New York Times has chosen not to publish the photographs “because of their graphic nature.”) This type of sadism is motivated by hatred, in this case hatred of Jews. So government officials should not accept terrorists’ definition of their cause at face value.

On December 2, 2015 in San Bernardino, Syed Farook and Tashfeen Malik did not target a military base or police station. They selected the most vulnerable targets, Farook’s unarmed co-workers, women prominent among them. The targeting of innocents with deadly force is terrorism. That was evident from the start but the President of the United States, the most powerful man in the world, invoked “workplace violence” in the early going, just as he did with the Fort Hood massacre, and pressured the FBI to downplay the terrorist aspect of the San Bernardino mass murder.

When the horrible reality of the killings could not be concealed, the administration turned to fear mongering about Islamophobia. For apologists such as Tina Aoun, director of the Middle Eastern Student Center at UC Riverside, the problem was the FBI.

“Many of my Muslim friends, among others, have doubts about the FBI’s narrative of what happened,” Aoun told the Los Angeles Times. “That’s because the story has so many holes in it. It doesn’t make any sense. Why did the FBI and police release the crime scene in the house in Redlands only one day after the shooting? Why would terrorists have a baby? Why would they target a facility for children with disabilities?”

The Los Angeles Times reporter did not seek answers to those questions, but the last one is the easiest. Farook and Malik targeted the facility for the same reason Black September targeted unarmed Olympic athletes in 1972. “They came to hurt people,” as Ankie Spitzer told the New York Times. “They came to kill.”