New Olympic chief quits 'anti-Jewish’ German organization
German former fencer Thomas Bach to resign as head of Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry following pressure from Jewish groups.
Thomas Bach, who was last week elected president of the International Olympic Committee, will resign Monday from all his other positions, according to sports website Inside the Games.
Among the positions that the German former fencer will be vacating is head of Ghorfa, the controversial Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
According to the American Jewish Committee, Ghorfa helps German companies ensure that their products meet the import requirements of Arab governments, some of which ban products and services from Israel.
“I will resign from most of my activities, of course,” he told Inside the Games.
“On Monday will be the first step when I resign as president of DOSB,” Bach said, referring to the German Olympic Sports Confederation. “Then I will also resign from the presidency of the Arab-German Chamber. I will resign from my major professional activities.”
Bach decided to resign from his other positions before it was announced that the Simon Wiesenthal Center had written to the United Nations to urge him to step down from Ghorfa, which they say is an anti-Jewish organization.
Bach, who most recently served as IOC vice president, won a fencing gold medal in the team foil in 1976 before entering sports marketing and politics. He supported the refusal of the IOC, led by Jacques Rogge, to hold a moment of silence during the 2012 Summer Olympics for the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Games.
Bach’s candidacy came under criticism in Germany in recent weeks for its strong support by Arab leaders. But Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Jewish Community of Bavaria and former head of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, said in a statement that Bach “stands for central values such as tolerance, fairness — sportsmanship in the best sense of the word — and cosmopolitanism.”