Over eighty years of international turmoil, discriminatory agendas, and vicious acts of violence.…this is the haunting Olympic history of Israel and Palestine.
Three people living in Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Jerusalem embark on distinct journeys that converge at “the file”; their efforts to admit Palestine to the Olympics in the early twentieth century. Their pivotal roles in history have been purposely omitted from official record, kept secret, or forgotten.
Why? Because of the “Nazi Olympics” in 1936 in Berlin. And because of the death in 1972 of eleven Israeli Olympic athletes in the Munich Massacre.
This book narrates the previously untold history of a Palestine Olympic Committee recognized before the creation of the State of Israel in 1948. It sheds light on some of the darkest events in sport history, exposing secretive relationships behind the doors of the Jerusalem YMCA, Nazi agitation, arrests, internments, and other intrigue in the complicated history of Israeli and Palestinian sport.
The File breaks new ground at the intersection of sport and politics—illuminating the hope, tension, and horror of the 20s, 30s, and 40s, the creation of the State of Israel and the Palestinian refugees, and the resulting guerrilla attack at the Olympics in Munich in 1972—and reveals a handful of heroes whose impact on athletes and international sport competitions is still felt today.
Consultant and researcher San Charles Haddad weaves a true and masterful tale of forgotten personalities in a conflict characterized by unabated venom, bringing hope and new questions in his wake. What will be the future of Israel and Palestine, and how might sport play a restorative role in the twenty-first century?
"San Charles Haddad's The File skillfully unearths some of the most deeply hidden roots of the horrendous 'Black September' massacre that overshadowed the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. On the basis of awesomely extensive archival research, Haddad stages a historical drama of the formation of the Palestine Olympic Committee, in 1934, on the eve of Berlin's 'Nazi Olympics,' to which the POC was destined to send no team. It is, in fact, with a dramatist's keen sense of character and action that Haddad delves into the world of a handful of dedicated idealistic organizers who struggled to bring together all the mutually antagonistic Palestinian sports organizations during the years of British Mandate rule. Among the most important of the many dramatis personae are the Zionist sports enthusiast Yosef Yekutieli and Jerusalem's YMCA director Waldo Heinrichs. Their stories are told with loving detail—against the dark backdrop of Palestinian Nazis determined to prevent any kind of cooperation between Jews and Arabs, on or off the fields of play. It is a shame that The File is not twice as long as its 368 pages."
– Allen Guttmann, author of "The Olympics: A History of the Modern Games"