Congress is getting involved in the fight to observe a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at this summer’s Olympic Games, with new House legislation and two leaders slamming the International Olympic Committee’s refusals as “indefensible.”
“Your refusal has caused sorrow and anger for the family members of the murdered Olympians, for the people of Israel, and for many other people across the globe,” House Foreign Affairs Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) and Ranking Member Howard Berman (D-Calif.) wrote today to IOC president Jacques Rogge.
“Many of us have not forgotten that when the IOC held a service after the murder of the Israeli Olympians in 1972, your predecessor as President of the IOC failed even to mention them in his remarks,” they added. “The IOC’s actions on this matter since then have done little to erase that memory.”
The families of the victims of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by Palestinian terrorists have been urging the IOC to hold a minute of silence for four decades, to no avail, noting that the IOC has expressed fears of angering Arab states. The state of Israel, through a letter from Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, asked Rogge to hold the tribute.
Rogge restated the IOC’s consistent refusal in a May 15 letter to Ayalon. “The IOC has officially paid tribute to the memory of the athletes on several occasions,” Rogge said. “Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.”
On Monday, the IOC defended its rejection of a memorial minute, claiming yet again that they regularly honor the slain Israelis.
The IOC has never held a ceremony for the slain Israelis at the Olympic Games, but sends a representative to the ceremony held by the Israel National Olympic Committee at each Games. Ayalon said the response “told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone and not a tragedy within the family of nations.” Berman and Ros-Lehtinen called the attendance at the Israelis’ own ceremony “insufficient.”
Arutz Sheva noted late last month that the IOC’s official website for the London Olympics listed Jerusalem as the capital of “Palestine” while listing no capital for Israel. It then reversed the capitals, but listed Palestine in Asia and Israel in Europe. A check reveals the classifications are still there.