Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thousands urge Olympics committee to remember 11 Israeli athletes murdered by Palestinians at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games

(JPost) Over 5,000 people have already signed an online petition urging the International Olympics Committee to observe one minute of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games at the upcoming games to be held in London this summer.

“Tell the International Olympic Committee: 40 Years is Enough!” urges the petition, which is featured on online social action platform Change.org and was set up by Andrei Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andrei Spitzer together with the Jewish Community Center in Rockland, New York.

“I am asking for one minute of silence for the memory of the eleven Israeli athletes, coaches and referees murdered at the 1972 summer Olympics in Munich. Just one minute — at the 2012 London Summer Olympics and at every Olympic Game, to promote peace,” Spitzer wrote about the aim of the petition.

She added: “These men were sons; fathers; uncles; brothers; friends; teammates; athletes. They came to Munich in 1972 to play as athletes in the Olympics; they came in peace and went home in coffins, killed in the Olympic Village and during hostage negotiations.”

“In the world we live in today, it is most imperative to remember those athletes who were murdered 40 years ago, as the message of the terrorists is still the same. The Munich Tragedy must never be forgotten...,” Helen Gottleib commented, one of the 4,865 people who have signed the petition.

Another person wrote: “It doesn't matter to me what nation the murdered team members were from. They were Olympians, and should be remembered at the Olympics.”

According to the information posted along with the petition, the families of the Munich 11 have worked for four decades to obtain recognition of the massacre from the International Olympic Committee.

“We have requested a minute of silence during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics starting with the ’76 Montreal Games,” Spitzer explained. “Repeatedly, these requests have been turned down. The 11 murdered athletes were members of the Olympic family; we feel they should be remembered within the framework of the Olympic Games.

“Silence is a fitting tribute for athletes who lost their lives on the Olympic stage. Silence contains no statements, assumptions or beliefs and requires no understanding of language to interpret." Spitzer said that her goal is not political or religious but to highlight the sportsmanship of the international event and to pay tribute to those who were murdered.

She pointed out that she has received support in recent years from the Jewish Community Center in Rockland New York, which has helped the bereaved families to set up an online memorial and has been involved in lobbying the Olympic committee.