WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, on the 40th anniversary of Munich Olympic Massacre, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged the Obama Administration to continue negotiations with the Israeli and Libyan governments to provide compensation to the victims of the Munich Massacre. In a letter to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Brown called on the State Department to work with Libya to compensate the victims of terrorism sponsored by the Qaddafi regime. The Black September Organization (BSO) is responsible for the Munich Massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympic Games, which resulted in the death of 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team, including Ohioan David Berger. While Libya has agreed to compensate other victims of its terrorist activities, previous attempts to engage the Libyan government on the Munich Massacre have failed. In February, Sen. Brown wrote to President Obama urging him to work with the governments of Libya and Israel to forge an agreement that would allow Libya to provide American and Israeli families with long-overdue justice.
“We must hold terrorists accountable,” Brown said. “Accountability means that every victim’s family of the 1972 Olympic Massacre is compensated – including the family of Ohioan David Berger. With the fall of the Qaddafi regime, we must seize the opportunity to compensate these families and send a clear signal to terrorist regimes that we will not rest in our fight for justice.”
Brown has been a longtime advocate for the Munich Massacre compensation. At a State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee hearing on February 28, 2012, Brown questioned Sec. Clinton on the progress of the settlement negations. Prior to the 2012 Summer Olympics, Senator Brown wrote to the International Olympic Committee requesting a moment of silence to honor the innocent Israelis who were killed. The David Berger National Memorial, located in Beachwood, honors the Ohio native and all the victims of the tragedy in Munich.
A copy of the letter can be read here.
September 6, 2012
The Honorable Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520
Dear Secretary Clinton:
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the Munich Massacre. The tragic events that took place during the 1972 Summer Olympic Games left 11 members of the Israeli Olympic team dead, including American David Berger. While we celebrate the Olympics and Paralympic Games in London this summer, we remember the victims of the 1972 massacre, who have never been rightfully compensated by those responsible for this murderous act of terrorism.
It is well established that the massacre was carried out by the terrorist group Black September. The former Libyan regime was an integral part of the support structure of Black September. And, there is evidence that the Qaddafi regime supported the group before, during, and after the Munich Massacre.
Holding those accountable for their actions does not terminate with the end of the regime. As Libya breaks from its past, I ask that you work with the international community and Libya to investigate the Munich Massacre, the Black September movement, and other terrorists acts supported by the former regime.
We must begin working with the new Libyan government on a resolution. Modern history is full of stories of nations that have shaken free from their past and have earned a seat at the global table by taking a tough, honest look at what previous regimes have done. The window of opportunity to engage the new Libyan government has never been greater. Yet, as we mark the 40th anniversary of the massacre, memories fade while justice remains denied.
There is a national memorial to David Berger in Beachwood, Ohio. Mr. Berger was an American citizen and one of the 11 Israeli athletes killed at the 1972 Olympic Games. As a nation, we honor his memory and Israeli teammates, but we must compensate the families and hold those responsible for their deaths accountable. Seeking justice and compensation for victims of global terrorism sends a powerful message to those who may be thinking of acting similarly.
I appreciate the Department of State’s efforts regarding this issue and I thank you for the work and time you and your staff have dedicated to seeking justice for the victims of the Munich Massacre and look forward to continuing to work with you.
United States Senator