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German foreign minister joins call for Olympics tribute to Munich 11

JTA

June 28, 2012 | 10:12 am

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in 2009. Photo by Dirk Vorderstraße

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in 2009. Photo by Dirk Vorderstraße

German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has joined the effort to urge the International Olympic Committee to hold a moment of silence at the London Olympics for the Munich 11.

Westerwelle joins Canada’s House of Commons, 100 Australian lawmakers and the U.S. Senate in the call to remember the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed at the Munich Games in 1972 by the Palestinian terrorist group Black September.

Westerwelle sent a letter Tuesday to the IOC President Jacques Rogge urging him to reconsider his objection to a minute of silence.

“This tragic terrorist attack in my country was directed not only at the Israeli Olympic team. It was also an attack on the Olympic Games and the Olympic idea of promoting peace and friendship among the nations,” Westerwelle wrote, according to the Times of Israel.

A moment of silence for the 11 Israelis, he added, would be “a humanitarian gesture and a fitting way to send the message that violence and terror are incompatible with the Olympic idea.”

While IOC officials have participated in memorial ceremonies hosted by Jewish communities, the body has not commemorated the ‘72 tragedy during the Games other than on the day after the massacre.

Despite the international attention, Rogge has turned down the request. The Summer Olympics begin in London on July 27.

In a May 1 letter this year, Rogge wrote that “the IOC has paid tribute to the athletes on several occasions. Within the Olympic family, the memory of the victims of the terrible massacre in Munich in 1972 will never fade away.

In recent days, Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the widows of the murdered athletes have released a video to help the campaign.

“This video is one minute long, the same amount of time we are asking the International Olympic Committee to stop and remember, contemplate and to send a message that the international sporting community will stand against hatred and violence,” Ayalon says in the video.

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