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Two U.S. lawmakers call on IOC to hold moment of silence for Munich 11

(JTA) — Two U.S. lawmakers and the Anti-Defamation League called on the International Olympic Committee to have a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at the London Olympics this summer.

Reps. Nita Lowey and Eliot Engel, both New York Democrats, made the request in a letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge.

"The massacre of the Munich 11 was a jarring reminder that the Olympic Games — long a symbol of international cooperation and camaraderie — are not wholly divorced from the hatred and intolerance that still exists throughout the world," they wrote. "We believe that a minute of silence at this year’s games would be a powerful reminder that such terrible acts of violence will not go unremembered, and that all those witnessing the Opening Ceremonies must continue to work toward a world where people of any nation, race, or religion can live free of fear."

The letter noted that more than 2 billion viewers watched the opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympic Games four years ago. Holding a moment of silence at the London Games, the lawmakers wrote, is "a unique opportunity to send a message that can literally reach every corner of the globe." 

Lowey and Engel said they plan to introduce a resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives calling on the IOC to honor the Munich 11 — the Israeli athletes and coaches who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

The Jewish Community Center of Rockland County, N.Y., a member of the JCC Association, and Ankie Spitzer, the widow of Israeli fencing Coach Andrei Spitzer, initiated an online petition in mid-April seeking a moment of silence at the London Games that has garnered more than 25,000 signatures from around the world.

"The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games," Spitzer wrote in a letter accompanying the petition.

Emmanuelle Moreau, the IOC’s head of media relations, told The Jerusalem Post last week that there would be no moment of silence.

In another letter to Rogge, ADL National Director Abe Foxman wrote that "Forty years has been too long to wait for an official tribute to those killed at Munich.”

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