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Mr. BROWN of Ohio. Madam President, I rise today because there was an obvious omission in the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday.
Forty years after 11 Israeli Olympians and a German police officer were murdered in the 1972 Munich games, the London games opened with no acknowledgement of this tragedy. There was neither mention nor a moment of silence for those victims of the Munich massacre.
Forty years ago, on September 4, five Palestinians stormed the apartments of the Israeli national team in the Olympic Village, murdering 11 Israeli team members. Yet, again and again, the IOC has rejected requests to hold a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at the opening ceremonies.
I thank Senator Gillibrand for her resolution calling on the IOC to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies to remember the 1972 Munich massacre.
I remind the International Olympic Committee that it is not too late. We can still pay tribute to these Olympians. These athletes were not random victims. They were targeted because of the country they represented and the beliefs they held.
Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, has said:
We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.
That is the best he can do.
On the 40th anniversary, I cannot think of a more appropriate moment to remember and honor these 11 Olympians.
The Munich massacre is part of the Olympic story. We can't erase it, and we should not overlook it. After all, we know what happens when we avoid the past. Of course, we cannot afford to repeat it.
I ask we all do everything we can to convince the IOC to step up and do the right thing.
Let me explain why this especially matters for people in my home State of Ohio--in greater Cleveland, the part of Ohio which I call home. In Beachwood, OH, a suburb east of Cleveland, there is a national memorial to David Berger, an American citizen and one of the 11 Israeli team members killed in Munich.
As a Nation, we honor his memory and the memory of his Israeli teammates, but we also have a moral responsibility to hold accountable those responsible for his death. Holding them responsible includes those who supported and financed the terrorists who perpetrated these actions.
We had the chance to hold Libya accountable. Yet during negotiations that led to the 2008 U.S.-Libya claims settlement agreement, Mr. Berger was not included, despite widely accepted evidence that Libya played an important role in the massacre.
We know the Qadhafi regime financially supported terrorist groups such as the Black September organization. It supported them and it welcomed the bodies of the dead terrorists from the Munich massacre back to a hero's tribute.
Seeking justice and compensation for victims of global terrorism sends a powerful message to those who may be seeking to do further harm. The window of opportunity to engage the new Libyan Government has never been greater. Libyan Ambassador Ali Suleiman Aujali said earlier this month in an op-ed in the Washington Post that he hopes ``that Washington considers an enterprise fund for Libya'' and that ``we would work closely with the U.S. Government on its creation.''
Those are the words of the Libyan Ambassador. Such a fund should include all those who deserve restitution for the losses they suffered. This includes the Berger family.
This is about letting violent extremists know they and their supporters will be pursued until justice is served--sending a clear signal to those contemplating terrorism as a political tool.
As we all cheer on the American athletes in the next couple of weeks, I ask that we all take a moment to think about the Munich massacre, about David Berger, and about what more we can do to preserve their legacy and resolve to thwart those who by their use of terror and violence would undermine all that the Olympic games are supposed to represent.
Madam President, I suggest the absence of a quorum.
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