(WASHINGTON) - Ranking Member Howard L. Berman (D-CA) along with U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, sent another letter to Dr. Jacques Rogge, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), urging him again to reconsider the IOC’s refusal to honor the Israeli athletes who were brutally murdered in Munich, Germany during the 1972 Olympic Games.
July 23, 2012
Dr. Jacques Rogge
International Olympic Committee
Chateau de Bidy
1007 Lausanne, Switzerland
Dear President Rogge:
Thank you for your reply to our letter of May 23. However, we are deeply disappointed that you did not directly respond to our specific request to hold a minute-long moment of silence at the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Olympic Games in memory of the eleven Israeli Olympians who were taken hostage and killed by Palestinian violent extremists at the 1972 Games in Munich. For that reason, we write to reiterate our request.
We take note of and appreciate your mention of International Olympic Committee involvement in past, present, and future tributes to the memories of the murdered Olympians, including the minute of silence that you held today at a small ceremony attended by about 100 people in the Olympic village. However, we believe that, even taken together, these memorial efforts lack the impact of a minute of silence at the Opening Ceremonies. President Rogge, you stated two days ago that “We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.” We could not disagree more. Where better than the unparalleled Opening Ceremonies, televised to and watched by billions of people around the world, to remember the murdered Olympians and thereby honor the Olympic ideals?
Over the years, the IOC’s refusal to hold a moment of silence has caused sorrow and anger for the family members of the murdered Olympians, for the people of Israel, and for many other people across the globe. Worse, this refusal projects—mistakenly, one wants to believe—an ambivalence, if not indifference, about the tragic events of 1972 on the part of the IOC leadership.
President Rogge, for our previously-stated reasons and for the honor of the Olympic movement, we urge that you reconsider your current thinking and choose to hold a moment of silence for the slain Israeli Olympians at your opening ceremonies this Friday, July 27 in London. Just one minute.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
ILEANA ROS-LEHTINEN HOWARD L. BERMAN
Chairman Ranking Member