Parliament calls on IOC for moment of silence
The House of Commons last week unanimously adopted a motion that calls on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence at the 2012 London Olympics in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches killed by terrorists 40 years ago at the Games in Munich.
With adoption of the motion, the Canadian Parliament became the first in the world to call for a moment of remembrance.
That move came after John Baird, minister of foreign affairs, and Bal Gosal, minister of state for sport, wrote to IOC president Jacques Rogge supporting Israel’s request for a minute of silence. Baird also phoned Rogge last week to express “strong support” for an official commemoration, a foreign affairs spokesperson stated.
The IOC has consistently refused Israel’s request, saying it has paid tribute to the athletes on other occasions. Palestinian Black September terrorists murdered the athletes after invading the athletes’ village.
Liberal justice and human rights critic Irwin Cotler proposed the House motion. Following its passage, Cotler told Parliament, “Civil society groups and political leaders around the world have been calling on the IOC to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Games. I am delighted that the Canadian Parliament is the first to unanimously support this call.
“The adoption of this motion is part of our responsibility to remember the victims of this terrorist assault 40 years ago – the duty of memory. I am pleased that all parties have worked together in common cause and hope the IOC will accede to our request.”
Earlier, Baird and Gosal had urged Rogge to reconsider the IOC rejection of Israel’s request for a moment of silence, “given the gravity of the events that took place in Munich in 1972.
“This terrorist attack targeted not only Israel but the spirit and goals of the Olympic movement. Given the impact of this tragedy, on the Olympic community as a whole and the world, it should be marked publicly as part of the official opening ceremony of the games, not just by the Israeli delegation,” the letter states.
In Australia, meanwhile, Prime Minister Julia Gillard was joined by opposition leader Tony Abbott, state premiers and other dignitaries in calling on the IOC to hold a minute of silence.
Rogge has rejected Israel’s suggestion that the Munich tragedy should be recognized during the opening ceremony. He has said that he would attend a special service in London and that IOC officials would attend memorials organized by the Israelis.