Bipartisan support for moment of silence to honor Munich victims
July 26, 2012 2 Comments
By Lauren Appelbaum, Political Director
Washington, July 26 – President Obama and presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, along with several governments around the world, have joined the call for the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of this year’s Olympics in London to commemorate the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches – and one German policeman – murdered by Palestinian terrorists during the Munich Olympics 40 years ago.
Romney, who led the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002, did not listen to requests for the IOC to observe a moment of silence for the 30th anniversary of the Munich massacre. Now, ahead of a trip that takes him to both England for the Olympics and then Israel, Romney is aligning himself with Obama and officials in several countries who are calling for the IOC to remember the tragedy.
“Gov. Romney supports the moment of silence in remembrance of the Israeli athletes killed in the Munich Olympic Games,” Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for Romney, told Reuters in an email on Monday.
Tommy Vietor, a National Security Council spokesman for Obama, told Yahoo News in an email last week that Obama is in support of the moment of silence. ”We absolutely support the campaign for a moment of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich.”
The AP also reports U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton wrote to IOC President Jacques Rogge to mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre and asked the IOC to reverse its decision and to hold an “appropriate memorial event” in London for the victims.
Congress has repeatedly called for the IOC to reverse its decision. Reps. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.) have co-sponsored a bill calling for the IOC to hold a moment of silence. The bill unanimously passed the House Foreign Affairs Committee, but a vote has yet to be scheduled by the full body. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a similar resolution.
“On Friday, millions of people around the world will tune in to the Olympics opening ceremony,” Lowey said during a conference call with the media on Wednesday. “A minute of silence would be a reminder that we must be constantly vigilant against prejudice, hate and intolerance, and it would pay tribute to the Munich 11 and their families.”
Regardless of the outcome, the House will be holding its own moment of silence Thursday.
“We’re going to give one-minute speeches on the House floor and devote a substantial moment of that to silence on Thursday,” Engel said. Following that, he and Lowey will lead a group of lawmakers to the Capital grounds for another moment of silence.
Other than the day after the murders themselves, the IOC has not held a commemoration during the Olympics for the Munich victims.