Usually when sports come up in Congressional business it''s to honor a winning team or officially rename an athletic facility. But this week, members are taking on the Olympics rather than congratulating their medal-holders.


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Some 45 representatives wrote the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, berating him for not agreeing to a moment of silence for the Israeli athletes slain at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago.


Chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen sent out the letter in an email blast subjected: "Is Just One Minute Too Much" to honor the 11 murdered athletes.


That sentiment was repeated in the letter, which also appealed to Rogge personally as an athlete who had participated in the 1972 Olympics.


The letter closes with, "We implore you to reconsider your refusal."


So far that hasn''t happened.


The members'' letter does more to highlight the gap between American and international perceptions of Israel than just about anything else, as Rogge is unlikely to change his stance even with their appeal.


The request in the letter appeals widely enough to American politicians that the bi-partisan list of signatories includes, among others, Ron Paul -- a Texas representative seeking the Republican presidential nomination who has generally succeeded more in alienating Jews for his policies towards Israel than enticing them (he was the sole GOP candidate not invited to the Republican Jewish Coalition''s Washington conference last year). 


While American political leaders of various stripes take time to ask for a brief act of ceremony at an international sporting event, the international hosting committee answers their request with a yes -- one minute is too much.




- Hilary Leila Krieger 


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