This summer’s London Olympics mark the 40th anniversary of the murder of 11 Israeli athletes and coaches by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.
But the International Olympic Committee will not hold a moment of silence to honor the victims, despite a request from Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. The decision, handed down Thursday, left Israeli officials fuming. But in a written response to Ayalon’s request, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he would personally attend the Israeli delegation’s tribute to those slain in the massacre.
“Please rest assured that, within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away,” Rogge wrote in his response. That did not sit well with Ayalon.
As the Associated Press reported:
Ayalon called the response “unacceptable” because it “rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest.”
The massacre was not just an assault on the Israeli team, but “an attack on the Olympic Games and the international community,” he 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.”
IOC Spokesman Mark Adams said the Olympic body takes the issue “very, very seriously.”
“During the period of the games, the Israeli NOC traditionally hosts a reception in memory of the victims and the IOC is always strongly represented. London will be no exception,” Adams said. “There will be an event at the Guildhall, which the IOC president will attend and will pay tribute to those who died.
“We felt that the tribute at the Guildhall is the most appropriate way to pay tribute to the athletes during the games in London.”
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