Originally released: July 29, 2012
With the start of the Olympics in London this weekend – and on the start of Tisha B’Av - Legislator Fran Becker renewed his demand for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to observe a moment of silence commemorating 40 years since the murder of eleven Israeli athletes at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games. (Source: New Jersey Star-Ledger. “IOC President Refuses to honor Munich victims with minute of silence” July 25, 2012)
The Opening Ceremonies this weekend did not have any remembrance to the Israeli athletes murdered in the midst of competition four decades ago by Palestinian terrorist organization Black September. And as the Olympics began on the same weekend as the observance of the ninth day of Av on the Jewish calendar, or Tisha B’Av – the fast day commemorating the destruction of the first and second temples in Jerusalem – Legislator Becker said there was no better time than during the Olympics to honor the athletes who were kidnapped and murdered decades ago.
“There is still time to honor these slain Israeli athletes. It’s not too late. The Olympics continue until August 12,” said Legislator Becker. “It’s time for the International Olympic Committee to stop treating this as a political statement; it’s really an acknowledgement of justice – in the spirit of peace and human solidarity. It’s also a fitting tribute to not only the ‘Munich 11′ but also all Israeli Olympians past and present.”
As one of the now-growing members of this bi-partisan movement, Becker seeks to have the United States’ lead the charge to remember the kidnapping and murder of Israeli’s slain Olympians before the London Olympics end.
Legislator Becker’s position greatly contrasts from his opponent, 16-year Democrat incumbent Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy who has continued to do nothing to support this effort. McCarthy also has not commented on this situation or joined her Democrat colleagues – including those from New York’s congressional delegation – to demand action from the IOC.
“Carolyn McCarthy’s constant ‘hands-off’ policy towards Israel is simply insulting,” said Becker. “I don’t understand why she isn’t leading the charge for this perfectly appropriate and fitting tribute, especally now – in the middle of Tisha B’Av. It’s utterly bizarre and clearly time for a change,” Becker stated.
“Once again, Carolyn McCarthy is Missing in Action on Israel. But it’s not surprising. It’s an unfortunate pattern showing the true colors of a 16-year Washington insider,” said Becker Campaign Spokesman Joe LoPresti.
“When the Obama Administration refused to say Jerusalem was the capital of Israel during a press briefing in the White House, McCarthy said nothing. When Israelis were murdered on a bus in Bulgaria a few weeks ago, it took McCarthy more than a full day to respond. When McCarthy was days late saying anything about the Gaza flotilla, a prominent local rabbi said her ‘silence [was] deafening’ and she needed ‘to apologize to her constituents for her silence.’
“Should we expect anything different? How can we take Carolyn for her word that she supports Israel when she demonstrates time and time again that she is either incapable or disinterested in standing up for what’s right?” asked LoPresti.
New York Democrat Congressman Eliot Engel, one of McCarthy’s closest colleagues in Washington, said “If it wasn’t political there would have been a moment of silence long ago. It’s a matter of decency and it’s a shame that in the past 40 years this moment of silence didn’t happen at all. In Washington these days, where people don’t agree on anything, this resolution passed unanimously, because it’s something that all decent people agree on. This moment of silence with 30 people is a step in the right direction but it’s not enough. If it doesn’t happen shame on the Olympic committee that succumbed to pressure. If it doesn’t happen it’s a stain on the international Olympics committee. I am sure if it hadn’t been Israel, it would have happened long ago.” (Source: Haaretz. “US Lawmaker: ‘Refusal to honor victims of Munich massacre will stain the IOC’ July 25, 2012)
Lenny Krayzelburg, a four-time Olympic Gold Medal swimmer, also commented on the tragedy of 1972, saying the Olympics “is about peace, humanity, and the celebration of life…there is no politics involved. In 1972, the whole world witnessed [this tragic event]…it’s appropriate that the whole world experience a moment of silence – taking minute of silence to recognize the 11 Israelis, but more important, the Olympians that were killed.” (Source: Haaretz. “US Lawmaker: ‘Refusal to honor victims of Munich massacre will stain the IOC’ July 25, 2012)