Congressmen urge silent moment for Munich victims (JERUSALEM POST) By JPOST COM STAFF 05/19/12)
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US Congressman Eliot Engel and Congresswoman Nita Lowey announced
Friday the introduction of House Resolution 663, calling on the
International Olympic Committee (IOC) to commemorate the 1972 Munich
attack, during the 2012 London Olympic Games opening ceremonies.
The Olympic Committee has rejected the Israeli government´s proposal
to hold a minute silence in memory of the 11 Israeli sportsmen
murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Games in Munich.
The congressmen stated that forty years on, the International Olympic
Committee has a moral responsibility to commemorate the victims of
the terror attack.
"We’re not asking for a gold medal – just a minute of silence. That
is why we introduced House Resolution 663 expressing the sense of
Congress that IOC should provide a solemn recognition to the horror
that befell the Games in 1972 through a minute of silence at the 2012
opening ceremonies," Engel and Lowey said in a statement.
In 1972, Palestinian terrorists from the Black September group took
members of Israel’s delegation hostage and demanded that 234
prisoners in Israeli prisons be freed; 11 Israelis were slain in a
bungled rescue operation carried out by German security forces.
“The Munich 11 were part of the Olympic family, and IOC’s rejection
thus far of a minute of silence is unacceptable. We intend to put the
US Congress on record that those who died deserve to be remembered in
a respectful manner to mark this anniversary,” they added.
On Thursday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon responded to a
letter from IOC President Jacques Rogge informing him of the decision
by saying it negated the idea of fraternity behind the Games.
“The terrorist murders of the Israeli athletes were not just an
attack on people because of their nationality and religion; it was an
attack on the Olympic Games and the international community,” Ayalon
said. “Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to
commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”
Ayalon sent a letter to Rogge a few weeks ago asking the committee to
hold a minute of silence for the Israeli victims at the Games in
London this summer.
The minister said he would inform the bereaved families of the
committee’s rejection of the proposal. He said Israel would open a
campaign aimed at reversing the decision.
“This rejection told us as Israelis that this tragedy is yours alone
and not a tragedy within the family of nations,” he said. “This is a
very disappointing approach and we hope that this decision will be
overturned so the international community as one can remember,
reflect and learn the appropriate lesson from this dark stain on
Meanwhile in London, momentum was gathering ahead of the summer
Games, as the flame for the London Olympics arrived on British soil
on Friday on board a special golden-liveried British Airways flight
The flame will start a 70-day torch relay around Britain on Saturday,
with triple Olympic gold medalist sailor Ben Ainslie carrying it on
the first leg from Land´s End on the south-west tip of England.
The Games start on July 27. Gil Shefler and Reuters contributed to
this report (© 1995-2011, The Jerusalem Post 05/19/12)
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