U.S. Lawmaker: 'Refusal to Honor Victims of Munich Massacre Will Stain the IOC'

Law makers, former Olympic athletes join petition to hold moment of silence.

Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya
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Natasha Mozgovaya
Natasha Mozgovaya

The campaign to observe a minute on silence to commemorate 40 years since the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, at the Olympic opening ceremony in London on Friday is attracting wide support in the United States with law makers joining the call to hold a moment of silence joining the support already expressed by President Barack Obama and including the support of both President Obama's and his Republican contender Mitt Romney's.

A group of American law makers, former Olympic athletes, joined Steve Gold, Chair of the Minute of Silence Munich 11 Petition in a conference call to the International Olympic Committee. In the call they demanded that the committee reverse its decision not to hole a moment of silence in the opening ceremony, saying that event to honor the victims of the massacre at the Munich 1972 games at the Olympic village on Monday, attended by IOC officials and mayor of London Boris Johnson, did not constitute a proper substitute to a public tribute during the games.

"Families of the athletes are trying to get this moment of silence for 40 years, and each year they are given different excuses", said Gold, who has gathered over 100,000 signatures on his online petition. "No one understands why they say no. Each time there are different excuses and responses. Maybe the real reason nobody is saying is because they were Israelis. I am looking out of my window and see the stadium and slogan there of this year's Olympics: "You will inspire the generation". The best way to inspire the generation is to hear voices of those signed the petition and of the world leaders who supported it. Even an Iranian representative said that if there is an IOC Moment of Silence, they will respect it."

Rep. Eliot Engel said that "It's political not to have the moment of silence. If it wasn't political there would have been a moment of silence long ago. It's a matter of decency and it's a shame that in the past 40 years this moment of silence didn't happen at all. In Washington these days, where people don't agree on anything, this resolution passed unanimously, because it's something that all decent people agree on. This moment of silence with 30 people is a step in the right direction but it's not enough. If it doesn't happen shame on the Olympic committee that succumbed to pressure. If it doesn't happen it's a stain on the international Olympics committee. I am sure if it hadn't been Israel, it would have happened long ago."

Rep. Ted Deutsch added that "it's not too late. There is still time to honor these athletes."

Lenny Krayzelburg, four-time Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, said "the tragedy of 72' was something that affected all Olympians, this worldwide exclusive fraternity of people who took part in these games. This event is about peace, humanity, and the celebration of life. When you walk through the Olympic village, there is no politics involved. In 1972 the whole world witnessed it, and it's appropriate that the whole world experience a moment of silence - taking minute of silence to recognize the 11 Israelis, but more important, the Olympians that were killed. I hope that in the next two days something can happen."

Black September terrorist during the 1972 takeover of the Israeli delegations quarters at the Munich Olympics.Credit: AP

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