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SBD Global/September 17, 2013/Olympics

New IOC President Bach To Resign From Controversial Arab-German Trade Group

Thomas Bach was selected IOC president on Sept. 10.
Newly elected IOC President Thomas Bach "intends to resign from the presidency of an organization purported to support the anti-Israel boycott movement," according to Raphael Ahren of the TIMES OF ISRAEL. Bach is the chairman of Ghorfa, the Arab-German Chamber of Commerce & Industry. Founded in '76, the organization "is accused of helping companies make sure they avoid any trade with Israel." Bach "also came under fire from Jewish groups for opposing a minute of silence for the Israeli victims of the Munich 1972 terror attack during last year’s Olympic Games in London." German Olympic Sports Confederation (DOSB) spokesperson Christian Klaue said, "He will resign as the president of Ghorfa." Klaue said that Bach "had promised to step down from all his other positions bar one" -- the chairmanship of the supervisory board at Weinig AG, a wood processing company based in his hometown of Tauberbischofsheim -- if he got elected to head the IOC (TIMES OF ISRAEL, 9/15). HAARETZ reported 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" (HAARETZ, 9/16).

CHANGING THE MINDSET: The AFP reported Bach said that "he had another goal -- that of fundamentally changing the mindset of cities that bid for the Olympic Games." He said, "I want to see a new approach to the bidding process. At the moment in our bid process we are asking too much, too early of the candidates. Honestly I can say that before I go into a Question and Answer session with the bid cities for no matter what Olympic Games I already know the answers, because I have heard them all before. I would like to try and change this mentality" (AFP, 9/16).
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