Israel steps up campaign to honor Munich victims

Deputy FM Ayalon releases video on YouTube, asks public to get Olympic Committee to drop opposition to minute of silence at opening ceremony.

By GIL STERN STERN SHEFLER
May 23, 2012 16:14
1 minute read.
Deputy FM Ayalon in YouTube video

Ayalon YouTube video 370. (photo credit: YouTube screenshot)

 
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Israel on Wednesday stepped up its campaign to hold a moment of silence for victims of the 1972 Munich massacre at the upcoming Summer Olympic Games in London.

Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon launched a video on YouTube in which he called upon the International Olympic Committee to reverse its decision not to hold a memorial for the 11 slain Israeli athletes at the opening ceremony.

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“This is not a political issue, but basic duty of the Olympian community towards its athletes,” Ayalon said.

“Dozens of articles that appeared in the press in recent days confirm the absurdity of the Olympic Committee’s decision. I hope the continued campaign, together with the international support we have received, will change its decision.”

During the minute-long clip Ayalon asks the public to sign a petition that would pressure the IOC to reconsider its opposition to the idea.

In 1972 Palestinian terrorists from the Black September group took members of Israel’s delegation hostage and demanded the release of 234 prisoners in Israeli prisons; 11 Israelis were slain in a bungled rescue operation carried out by German security forces.

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Israel has pressed the IOC to mark the 40th anniversary of the atrocity with a moment of silence during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Games in London, but the governing body of the international sports event last week rejected the request saying the venue was inappropriate and that it would honor the athletes in a separate ceremony.

“The IOC has regularly commemorated the 1972 tragedy and will do so once more in London at a ceremony during the Games, but there will not be a minute’s silence in the opening ceremony,” an IOC spokesman was quoted as saying.

Israel insists the opening ceremony is the most appropriate place to hold such an event, and its campaign has won the the support of both UK and US politicians.

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