Rogge again rules out minute silence for IsraelisLONDON - International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge won’t budge: There will be no minute’s silence for the Israeli victims of the 1972 Munich massacre at the opening ceremony of the London Olympics.
Rogge rejected the latest calls Saturday for a special observance to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian gunmen at the Munich Games. “We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” Rogge said.
The IOC has come under pressure from politicians in the United States, Israel and Germany to pay tribute to the slain Israelis during Friday’s ceremony.
Rogge said the IOC will honor them at a reception in London during the Games on Aug. 6. He said IOC officials will also attend a ceremony in Germany on the anniversary of the attack on Sept. 5 at the military airfield of Furstenfeldbruck where most of the Israelis died.
Rogge also noted that he has attended several ceremonies with the Israeli Olympic Committee and Israeli athletes during recent Games.
“We feel that we are able to give a very strong homage and remembrance for the athletes within the sphere of the national Olympic committee,” he said at a news conference. “We feel that we are going to do exactly the same at the exact place of the killings at the military airport near Munich on Sept. 5, the exact date.”
During the second week of the Munich Games, eight members of the Black September militant group penetrated the laxly secured Olympic Village and took Israeli team members hostage. A day later, all 11 were dead. German police killed five of the eight assassins during a failed rescue attempt and Israeli agents tracked down and killed the others.
The Israeli and German foreign ministers and the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee have urged the IOC to observe a minute’s silence.
President Barack Obama also supports the campaign for a minute’s silence, White House National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News in an e-mail Friday.
Rogge was asked whether he was swayed by Obama’s view.
“We also pay big attention to recommendations coming either from the political world, cultural world or world of enterprise,” Rogge said.