IOC Rejects Moment of Silence in London for Munich Victims
2012 games won’t commemorate 40th anniversary of 1972 Olympic massacre
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) denied a request on Tuesday to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies of this year’s London Olympics, for the Israeli athletes murdered in the 1972 Munich massacre, Ynet reported.
The families of the 11 victims had requested that the IOC mark the 40th anniversary of the tragedy, but IOC President Jacques Rogge said he had no choice but to reject the request.
Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon had also expressed his support for a moment of silence at the opening ceremonies, saying in a letter to the IOC that doing so would “send a clear message that we must not forget the terrible events 40 years ago in Munich, lest they happen again.”
Rogge sent a written response to Ayalon this week.
“The International Olympic Committee has held official memorials for the athletes a number of times,” Rogge wrote. “The memory of the victims of the horrible slaughter in Munich in 1972 will never fade in the Olympic family.”
Rogge added that IOC members would attend memorial ceremonies organized by the Israeli delegation.
According to the CBC, Ayalon called the response “unacceptable” as it “rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest.”
The massacre represented “an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community," Ayalon said. “Thus it is necessary for the Olympic Games as a whole to commemorate this event in the open rather than only in a side event.”
Israeli Foreign Ministry Spokesman Yigal Palmor said that although the IOC was polite in its rejection, the committee passed up the opportunity to make a broader point with a moment of silence.
“It's a shame. The IOC is treating this as an internal Israeli matter but [the Munich massacre] is of concern to the whole Olympic family, it was an onslaught on the whole Olympic ideal,” Palmor said.
“But perhaps [the IOC] thinks anything to do with Israel is controversial. It is not a display of great courage and integrity.”