Mark of beginning of Olympic Games
Mark of beginning of Olympic GamesReuters

Congressman Eliot Engel and Congresswoman Nita Lowey, both of whom are Democrats from New York, urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to reconsider its refusal to honor the Israeli athletes who were murdered by terrorists at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich with a minute of silence at the 2012 Olympic Games opening ceremony in London.

“The murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches can no longer be ignored by the International Olympic Committee. It’s time that the IC set aside a moment of silence to remember all the victims,” said Rep. Engel, a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. “I urge the IOC to reconsider its appalling decision and stop standing in the way of an appropriate, solemn recognition of the horror with befell the Games 40 years ago.”

“The murder of 11 Israeli athletes by terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics was a tragedy that reverberated far beyond the Games,” asserted Rep. Lowey, ranking Democrat on the Appropriations State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee. “It is necessary, important, and right to hold a minute of silence in recognition of the victims. The continued refusal of the International Olympic Committee to honor the memories of these victims is unfathomable, and I urge the IOC to reconsider its decision.”

The Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, NY and Ankie Spitzer, widow of murdered Israeli athlete Andrei Spitzer, initiated an online petition last month calling on the IOC to hold one minute of silence to officially commemorate the victims of the brutal attack.

“This year marks 40 years of disappointment,” said Ankie Spitzer who made the appeal on behalf of the all of the families of the murdered Israeli athletes. “We are asking them, again, for one minute of silence at the 2012 Olympic Games, in London. Two years ago the JCC of Rockland in New York made it their mission to initiate a petition for this cause and for their 2012 junior Olympic Maccabi Games to honor the Munich 11.”

“The idea that IOC for 39 years has said ‘no’ to honoring the memory of 11 Olympic athletes is despicable … and no one ever gives (us) a reason. It needs to be recognized,” said Steve Gold, former president and current member of JCC Rockland’s board of directors who is chairing the Minute of Silence campaign.

“They went in the spirit of the Olympics and they came home in caskets,” said Gold. “We decided, with the families, to give it one more shot and use social media to get the word out. It’s working.”

“It feels good that we’re making some noise. Although they keep saying no, maybe this time they’ll say yes, when they see that the world is demanding the recognition, Gold added. “I think this is the only online petition that isn’t reacting to current events. It’s reacting to an event that was 39 years ago and that is pretty amazing.”

(For Giulio Meotti's powerful  "I Think of Munich's Children", click here.)