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New York, U.S.A. – ”President Obama’s endorsement of an Olympic games moment of silence in honor of slain Israelis is a welcome boost to the global campaign,” said AJC Executive Director David Harris.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has rejected public commemoration of the 11 Israeli Olympians murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Olympics in Munich. In 1972 members of the Israeli Olympic team were kidnapped and then killed by the Palestinian group, the Black September. The Palestinians demanded that 234 Palestinian prisoners being held in Israeli jails be released and that all the members of Germany’s Red Army Faction be put into prison. The Palestinians killed eleven Israeli victims including coaches and athletes. Five of the eight Palestinians were killed when they tried to flee after the killings and the other three were captured.
However, West German officials released the three and Israel launched ‘Operation Wrath of God’ in order to track down all of those associated with the killings and kill them. The operation was successful but also resulted in the death of an innocent Norwegian man and four bystanders.
“We (the Obama administration) absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.
Obama joins the growing outcry for IOC President Jacques Rogge to reconsider its longstanding opposition to the memorial before the London Olympic Games open on July 27. The Canadian and Australian parliaments, the U.S. Senate, the German Bundestag, and others have passed resolutions urging the IOC to hold a moment of silence. In addition,140 members of the Italian parliament expressed their support for the global campaign.
“The 11 victims in 1972 were Israeli, but the Palestinian terror attack in Munich was an assault on all who came to participate peacefully in the spirit of the Summer Olympics,” Harris added. “Is a minute of silence too much to ask, given the tragedy that befell the Israeli contingent and, indeed, the entire Olympic movement?”