POSTED: May 17th 2012

The AJC calls on IOC to reconsider moment of silence on 40yr anniversary

LAURA WALDEN / Sports Features Communications

May 17 – The American Jewish Community (AJC) for global Jewish advocacy has called out for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider observing a moment of silence on behalf of the 11 Israeli athletes that were killed by a terrorist attach at the Munich 1972 Games. This follows on the heels of the rejected attempt by the deputy foreign minister of Israel, Danny Ayalon.

Ayalon sent a letter of request to IOC chief, Dr. Jacques Rogge, with the request on behalf of two of the widows of the athletes, Ankie Spitzer and Ilana Romano, that were killed on the 40 year anniversary of the tragedy in Munich.

As reported in the New York Times Ayalon also said in the letter: “Unfortunately, this response is unacceptable as it rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest.

“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. 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.”

Rogge has replied back that he will be attending the reception traditionally hosted by the Israeli NOC at Guildhall during the London Games and also noted that the IOC on a number of occasions has officially paid tribute on a number of occasions and will continue in collaboration with the Israeli NOC.

Rogge himself was in Munich participating as an athlete during the Game in ’72 in the sailing and was shocked like the rest of the world at the news of the terrorist attack and the ensuing tragedy. He has always vehemently tried to keep politics out of sport earnest on maintaining each in its own perspective.

Also he was the first president to actually sleep in the Olympic Village after he took office in an effort to make a statement about the quality and safety of the Village for the real protagonists of the Games the athletes.

AJC Executive Director David Harris said in a statement:

"The 11 victims were Israeli, but the terror attack in Munich was an assault on all who came to participate peacefully in the Olympic Games.

"The 40th anniversary of that tragedy is a perfect opportunity for the Olympics to properly honor the memory of those innocent Israelis.

"The IOC refusal to hold a moment of silence during the London games opening ceremony, which will be watched worldwide, is simply shameful.

"The IOC cannot hide this tragic terrorist episode in Olympic history, certainty not when British security services are placing missiles on top of London apartment buildings and taking other steps to beef up security.”

Keywords · American Jewish Community · IOC · Munich 1972 · terrorist attacks

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