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IOC urged to hold minute of silence for Olympic massacre victims

June 07, 2012|By Richard Simon
  • Ankie Spitzer, widow of the Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, who was slain by Palestinian terrorists on Sept. 5, 1972, surveys the room where the incident occurred at Munich's Olympic Village in Germany on Sept. 8, 1972. A congressional committee is calling on the International Olympic Committee to hold a minute of silence at the London games.
Ankie Spitzer, widow of the Israeli fencing coach Andre Spitzer, who was… (Associated Press )

WASHINGTON -- A congressional committee Thursday called on the International Olympic Committee to hold a minute of silence at the London Games to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the victims of the 1972 Munich massacre.

A resolution sent to the House on a unanimous vote of its Foreign Affairs Committee calls on the IOC to hold a minute of silence to honor the 11 Israeli athletes and officials and the German police officer killed at the 1972 Summer Games. The moment would be observed at the 2012 Summer Games and at every Olympics opening ceremony thereafter.

The London Games will mark "four decades since this act of terror took place without an appropriate remembrance at the Olympic Games,’’ says the resolution.

The IOC has resisted holding a moment of silence, and Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.) has assailed that resistance. 

She and the panel’s ranking member, Rep. Howard Berman (D-Calif.), recently wrote IOC President Jacques Rogge: "Is one minute too much for the IOC to spend in remembrance of the 11 innocent lives brutally cut short at the 1972 Games?’’

A minute of silence, they wrote, would "reaffirm Olympic values of honor, harmony, and fraternity, the very values that violent extremists horrifically repudiated by butchering the Israeli Olympians.’’

There was no immediate response from the IOC to the resolution’s passage.  

In 1972, eight Black September terrorists invaded the Israeli quarters, killed two athletes and took nine other members of the delegation hostage while demanding the release of 200 Palestinian prisoners. The hostages, five terrorists and one policeman were killed in the ensuing rescue attempt by German security forces at a nearby airfield.

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richard.simon@latimes.com

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