Italian lawmakers join push for Olympics moment of silence

ROME (JTA) — Some 140 members of the Italian parliament have added their voices to calls for a minute of silence during the upcoming Olympic Games in London to honor the Munich 11.

The MPs, from across the political spectrum, made their appeal in a letter this week to Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympics Committee. The letter was spearheaded by Jewish MP Fiamma Nirenstein, who is vice president of the parliamentary Commission on Foreign Affairs. 

“At all the Games since 1976, family members of the murdered athletes have requested a minute of silence but they have always been refused,” Nirenstein said in a statement. “This year marks the 40th anniversary of the massacre.”

It was time, she said, for “a moment of pity for these murdered athletes and a firm condemnation of terrorism.” 

Eleven members of the Israeli delegation — athletes and coaches — were murdered by Palestinian terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics. The IOC has never had a moment of silence at the Games for them, other than the day after the tragedy. IOC officials have attended private Jewish community ceremonies in host cities during the games. 

The U.S. Senate, the German Bundestag, the Canadian and Australian parliaments, about 50 members of the British Parliament and about 100 members of Australia’s Parliament are advocating the moment of silence.

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