london | The president of the International Olympic Committee came under attack from successive speakers at a London memorial for the Munich 11.
Jacques Rogge, who was in the audience at the Aug. 6 event, was blamed for refusing to allow a minute of silence during the opening ceremony of the London Games in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were slain by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics.
“Shame on you, IOC,” said Ankie Spitzer, widow of fencing coach Andre Spitzer, who died in the attack. “You have forsaken the 11 members of your Olympic family. You discriminate against them only because they are Israelis and Jews.”
Another of the widows, Ilana Romano, told Rogge that he “will be written down on the pages of history as … a president who violated the Olympic charter calls for brotherhood, friendship and peace.”
Both women received standing ovations.
The Israeli Embassy in London and the National Olympic Committee of Israel organized the memorial along with the local London Jewish community.
Members of the 2012 Israeli Olympic delegation sat on stage for the ceremonies, which were attended by more than 650 people, including representatives of various national Olympic committees and Israeli Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat.
Rogge, accompanied by the only Israeli representative on the IOC, Alex Gilady (see story, page 35), told the audience that remembering the events of 1972 was “painful” and that he “would never forget why we’re here.”
Rogge — a member of the Belgian yachting team at the 1972 Olympics — said the Munich attack “cast terrorism’s dark shadow on the Olympic Games. It was a direct assault on the core values of the Olympic movement.”
His speech was greeted by polite applause.
After the ceremony, some audience members privately expressed discomfort at the sustained attack on Rogge.
Andrew Gilbert, the former chair of Limmud International, Anglo-Jewry’s flagship learning program, tweeted that “the memorial service for Munich 11 became an anti-IOC rally and heavy-handed humiliation of Rogge.”
However, most in the audience applauded the criticism.
Vivian Wineman, president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, Anglo-Jewry’s main representative organization, said that, “it is good that [Rogge] should see how we feel.”