Jewish Journal

IOC: No minute of silence for slain Israeli athletes at London opening ceremony

by Jonah Lowenfeld

July 22, 2012 | 11:41 am

This plaque in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes killed a the 1972 Munich Olympics, which now hangs in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum's Court of Honor, was initially unveiled during the 1984 Olympic games at a ceremony at Los Angeles's City Hall. The International Olympic Committee refused to allow for it to be hung at the Coliseum during the games. Photo courtesy Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum/youTube

The International Olympic Committee president stood firm in his refusal to hold a minute of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics in memory of the Israeli athletes killed at the Munich Olympics 40 years ago, the Associated Press reported.

Despite an online petition signed by more than 100,000 people and a statement by President Barack Obama saying that he supports a public remembrance of the Israeli athletes who were killed by Palestinian terrorists in 1972, IOC President Jacques Rogge told the Associated Press that, “the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident.”

Rogge said the IOC would honor the athletes elsewhere and at other times, including at a reception in London during the games on Aug. 6, and a ceremony to take place in September at the military airfield in Germany where the Israeli athletes were killed.

That the IOC is participating in any remembrances of the Israeli athletes, who have come to be known as “The Munich 11,” could be seen as a degree of progress, given the IOC’s absence at a similar ceremony that took place in 1984, when Los Angeles hosted the games.

That year, city officials, leaders of the Jewish community and members of the Israeli Olympic delegation attended a memorial ceremony at Los Angeles’s City Hall. No IOC officials attended that ceremony, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times from 1984. The commemorative plaque unveiled at that ceremony, which now hangs at the Coliseum, was initially displayed at City Hall because the IOC refused to allow it to be hung at the Coliseum while the games were going on.

For more on Los Angeles’s efforts in 1984 to remember the Munich 11, click here.

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