Members of New York's powerful Jewish community lambasted the International Olympic Committee's refusal to hold a minute of silence Friday for the Israeli athletes massacred at the Munich games 40 years ago.
"There are three words I have for the International Olympic Committee," Eliot Engel, a congressman from New York state, said at a ceremony in Manhattan. "Shame on you!"
Engel was among dozens of Israeli and Jewish-American leaders who held their own minute of silence to remember the 11 victims of the 1972 bloodbath at the hands of Palestinian militants.
A large board with the black and white photos of the 11 stood next to the podium on a sidewalk where speaker after speaker excoriated IOC President Jacques Rogge for ruling that no official minute of silence would be held at the opening of the London games Friday.
Among them was Avi Melamed, who was an unofficial coach with the Israeli swimming team in Munich and narrowly escaped death.
"It's just a moment of silence we're asking for to commemorate the first Olympic battlefield," he said, recalling the terrifying moments after gunmen burst into the Israeli residence in the Olympic Village.
Rogge, who held an impromptu minute's silence when he toured the Athletes' Village in London on Monday, says that making such a gesture during the opening ceremony would politicize the event.