As you know, a Moment of Silence was not held during the opening ceremonies in London, despite the backing of Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and Mitt Romney.
But only one of those three ever had the ability to do something about it.
In 2002 – the 30th Anniversary of the Munich Olympics – Romney was President of the Salt Lake City Organizing Committee. I know 2002 was a long time ago, so let me remind you: there was no moment of silence in memory of the 1972 Israeli delegation.
Perhaps, one might protest, as the mere host of the games, Mitt had no power to get a moment of silence onto the agenda. But I can’t imagine this happening anywhere outside of London (certainly not in Beijing):
The IOC permitted a video tribute to the 52 people who were killed in the suicide bombings in the London transit system the day after the city won the Games in 2005.
In other words, host cities do have some discretion in planning the opening ceremonies, and Mitt could have done something had he so wished.
But still, one might protest, perhaps it never occurred to him. Perhaps he never even knew about it. Well, given Ankie Spitzer’s account of her repeated appeals, I also find it difficult to believe the proposal did not once pass over Romney’s desk sometime between 1999 and 2002:
For the past 40 years, I, along with the families of the other ten victims, have called on the International Olympic Committee to honor our loved ones’ memories by observing a minute of silence at the opening ceremonies of the Olympics. We first asked for the minute of silence before the 1976 Montreal Olympics and, to our dismay, were denied. We’ve continued to be denied every Olympics since.
The issue became headline news this cycle not because it was the family’s first try, but because of the proliferation of social media like Facebook and Change.org. Consequently, there’s been a lot of outrage directed toward the IOC over the decision not to hold a moment of silence. And I agree: it was a lousy decision. The victims deserve a moment every four years, with interest tacked on for the 19 Olympics they’ve been denied.
But it seems to me that the same arguments used to paint Rogge and the IOC as a pack of anti-Semitic scumbags should also apply to Mitt Romney. And so far they haven’t. Meanwhile, the Romney campaign has refused to answer questions on the topic of what happened in Salt Lake City.
Of course, Mitt’s not actually anti-Semitic. But he didn’t hold the moment of silence 10 years ago, and it still took him four days longer than Obama to throw his support behind the initiative this year. I’d have a lot more confidence in Romney’s support of Israel – for its own sake, and not just to win Jewish and evangelical votes [and Sheldon Adelson’s money] – if he would for once put his money where his mouth is.
In fairness to Romney, I’m not sure anyone’s mouth is big enough for all that money.