Pressure is growing on members of the Olympic Committee as well as British government officials to hold a minute of silence at this year’s Summer Olympic Games in London to remember 11 Israeli athletes who were killed by Palestinian militants at the Munich games in 1972.
A former minister from Britain’s Labour party has submitted a letter to Prime Minister David Cameron urging him to back the push for a minute’s silence, encouraging him to follow the example set by the English national football team, which paid a visit to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland ahead of Euro 2012 games as a gesture of solidarity and remembrance for Jews killed during the Holocaust. More than 50 other British MPs have joined the governments of Germany, Australia, and Canada, as well as the US Senate, in calling for the minute-long memorial.
Although the International Olympic Committee has so far refused to honour the requests, Lord Coe, the chairman of the London Organising Committee, said he would hold a “personal” memorial. It isn’t clear, however, what that means.
In an interview with JN1, European Jewish Parliament member for the UK Gordon Hausmann said holding a personal memorial is a nice gesture, but one that doesn’t go far enough.
MEJP Gordon Hausmann:
“Something private, something personal is very valuable and it’s very nice. But in view of the magnitude of what happened, there is no question that the only place to have the commemoration is at the opening ceremony. It has to have the same prominence as the tragedy when it took place.”
More than 87,000 people have signed a petition calling for a moment to remember the fallen athletes, and the increasing pressure has some Jewish groups and Israeli supporters alike accusing the Olympic Committee of bowing to politics to avoid angering Arab nations.