US Representatives Eliot Engel and Nita Lowey, both Democrats from New York,
announced Friday the introduction of House Resolution 663, calling on the
International Olympic Committee 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 of silence in memory
of the 11 Israeli sportsmen murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in
The congressmen stated that forty years on, the International
Olympic Committee has a moral responsibility to commemorate the victims of the
“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
Black September took members of Israel’s delegation hostage and demanded that
234 prisoners jailed in Israel be freed. Eleven 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 that it negated the idea of fraternity behind the
“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.
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 London Olympics 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.
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 Olympic history.”
Meanwhile in London, momentum was
gathering, as the flame for the London Olympics arrived on British soil on
Friday on board a special golden-liveried British Airways flight from
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 southwest tip of England.
Olympic Games start on July 27.
Gil Shefler and Reuters contributed to