Clinton urges IOC to commemorate Munich massacre

July 25, 2012 - 5:43 PM
Clinton

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks at the Second Annual Global Diaspora Forum, Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton is calling on the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the massacre of Israeli athletes by Palestinian gunmen at the Munich Games in 1972 with a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of this year's Games in London.

A senior State Department official said Wednesday that Clinton wrote to committee President Jacques Rogge to ask the IOC to hold an "appropriate memorial event" in London for the victims.

A diplomatic source familiar with the letter sent to Rogge on Tuesday said Clinton specifically urges the IOC to reverse its decision not to hold a moment of silence to mark the 40th anniversary of the tragedy at Friday's opening ceremony in London.

The official and the diplomatic source spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to describe the private correspondence.

Rogge says the opening ceremony is not appropriate for such a commemoration but the IOC is honoring the 11Israeli athletes and coaches killed in Munich at other events. Rogge participated in one such event on Monday.

In London, IOC spokesman Mark Adams confirmed receipt of Clinton's letter and said his organization had responded without providing details of the response. But, he noted that the IOC was already "marking this moment — the blackest in the history of the Olympic movement in a number of ways."

Clinton is the latest in a number of U.S. officials, politicians and others who have weighed in on the matter. Israel has been pushing the IOC for a moment of silence as have political figures in Germany and Jewish groups around the world.

A committee started by a Jewish organization in Rockland, N.Y., has gathered more than 100,000 signatures for the moment of silence and counts President Barack Obama among its supporters.

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Associated Press writer Bradley Klapper contributed to this report.