World Jewish Congress President Ronald Lauder issued a statement Sunday slamming the International Olympic Committee as "completely out of touch" for refusing to observe a moment of silence in memory of the Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games.
That's putting it politely.
If he really wants to change that, Lauder should personally call his friend Mitt Romney to take action. President Obama has said he "absolutely" supports such a memorial, but Romney has apparently been silent, at least there is nothing on his campaign website or Google indicating otherwise.
“We feel that the opening ceremony is an atmosphere that is not fit to remember such a tragic incident,” IOC President Jacques Rogge said.
Lauder is one of the Jewish billionaires backing Romney, whose leadership of the 2002 Olympic games in Salt Lake City is one of the presumptive GOP nominee's bragging points in his run for the White House. This week he begins an overseas campaign trip to England, Poland and Israel to raise money, seek some foreign policy credentials and find votes.
His first stop will be in London where he will be a guest of the IOC at the opening ceremonies Friday night. His wife's horse is participating in the dressage competition, which one Romney advisor was quoted saying could draw more attention to his personal wealth.
If Romney wants to make a mitzvah before getting to Jerusalem on Saturday, he can call on his IOC hosts to do as his friend Ronald Lauder and so many others – including President Obama, Members of Congress, and leaders of Israel, Canada, Australia and Germany -- urged and show proper respect for the victims of the Munich Massacre. If the IOC still refuses, Mitt can announce he will not attend.
That would take courage and leadership. Does he have it in him?
He has criticized President Obama for not being tough enough on Iran – although he hasn't specified what he would do differently – but his silence in London could look like he's also afraid of the Iranians in light of an item in the Sunday Times. The British paper reported, "Israeli officials warned that an Iranian terror squad in Europe may be planning to attack its athletes at the Olympic Games."
Romney so far has not taken a position on the moment of silence, but 10 years ago, on the 30th anniversary, when he was in charge, the IOC rejected a similar request. But then he wasn't yet running for president.
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