Earlier today, the House Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously passed H.Res 663, urging the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to recognize with a minute of silence at every future Olympics Opening Ceremony those who were murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics. For a summary of all measures considered today by the Committee, please click here. Committee Chairman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), a co-sponsor of the legislation, submitted the following statement supporting the bill:
"At the 1972 Summer Olympics in Munich, eleven members of the Israeli Olympic team--including a U.S. citizen, David Berger--were taken hostage and murdered by a Palestinian violent extremist group with ties to the PLO.
"The murdered athletes were not only Israelis; they were Olympians, killed not in Jerusalem or Tel Aviv but at the Olympics itself. Their murder was an attack not only on the Israeli Olympians and on Israel, but on the Olympics. A West German police officer was also killed in the attack.
"However, in the four decades since the attack, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has repeatedly refused requests for a moment of silence at the Olympics in memory of those who lost their lives in Munich. And the IOC recently refused a request by family members of the murdered Olympians, and by the Israeli government, for one minute of silence at the opening ceremonies of the upcoming 2012 Summer Olympics in London, which will mark 40 years since the Munich attack.
"The IOC's refusals are indefensible. And so today, this Committee has marked up House Resolution 663, sponsored by my friends from New York, Mr. Engel, the Ranking Member of our Western Hemisphere Subcommittee, and Ms. Lowey, the Ranking Member of the Appropriations Foreign Operations Subcommittee.
"I am proud to be a co-sponsor of this resolution, which urges the IOC to institute a moment of silence--at this year's Olympics and at future ones--in memory of those who lost their lives in Munich. Joined by my friend Ranking Member Berman, I recently wrote to the President of the IOC, urging him to reconsider.
"A minute of silence would be a small, well-deserved, and overdue tribute to the brave Olympians and police officer who lost their lives. A minute of silence would also reaffirm Olympic values of honor, harmony, and fraternity, and would be to the credit of the Olympic Games, the IOC, and all Olympians.
"And so, today, we make the same request of the IOC that is being made by the Israeli government, by the murdered Olympians' families, and by thousands of people worldwide on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube: "Just - one -- minute'."
NOTE: The following bills and resolutions were also passed: H.R. 4405, The Sergei Magnitsky Rule of Law Accountability Act; H.Res 506, calling for Turkey to reopen the Halki Seminary; H.R. 4141, The International Food Assistance Improvement Act; H.Res.526, supporting the sovereignty of Georgia and calling for a peaceful resolution to the Georgian conflict; and H.Res 583, supporting efforts by the U.S. to bring Joseph Kony and his followers to justice.