Date published: May 10, 2012
(JTA) - Two U.S. lawmakers and the Anti-Defamation League called on the International Olympic Committee to have a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at the London Olympics this summer.
Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, both New York Democrats, made the request in a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge.
"The massacre of the Munich 11 was a jarring reminder that the Olympic Games - long a symbol of international cooperation and camaraderie-are not wholly divorced from the hatred and intolerance that still exists throughout the world," they wrote. "We believe that a minute of silence at this year's games would be a powerful reminder that such terrible acts of violence will not go unremembered, and that all those witnessing the Opening Ceremonies must continue to work toward a world where people of any nation, race, or religion can live free of fear."
The letter noted that more than 2 billion viewers watched the opening ceremonies of the IJeijing Olympic Games four years ago. Holding a moment of silence at the London Games, the lawmakers wrote, is "a unique opportunity to send a message that can literally reach every corner of the globe."
Lowey and Engel said they plan to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives calling on the IOC to honor the Munich 11 - the Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.
The Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, N.Y., a member of the JCC Association, and Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing coach Andrei Spitzer, initiated an online petition in mid-April seeking a moment of silence at the London Games that has garnered more than 25,000 signatures from around the world.
"The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games," Spitzer wrote in a letter accompanying the petition.
EmmanueUe Moreau, the IOC's head of media relations, told The Jerusalem Post last week that there would be no moment of silence.