Canada’s House of Commons voted unanimously Wednesday to join Israel in calling for a moment of silence at the upcoming summer Olympic Games, in memory of the massacre of Israeli athletes at the Munich games 40 years ago.
The International Olympic Committee has already roundly rejected the proposal, saying the attack has been memorialized and adding a moment of silence would politicize the games.
The motion by Liberal MP Irwin Cotler, known for his staunchly pro-Israel views, makes Ottawa the first parliament to call for a moment of silence.
The vote came days after the country’s Conservative government voiced support for a memorial to the victims.
Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird sent a letter to IOC head Jacque Rogge voicing disappointment with the OIC’s refusal to grant the moment of silence.
On Monday, Baird followed up his letter with a phone call to Rogge to reiterate his support for the measure, according to Canadian newspaper The National Post.
Cotler lauded the passage of the motion in the House of Commons, saying it was “part of our responsibility to remember the victims of this terrorist assault 40 years ago.”
“I am delighted that the Canadian Parliament is the first to unanimously support this call,” Cotler said in a statement. “ I am pleased that all parties have worked together in common cause and hope the IOC will accede to our request.”
The IOC’s decision last month to reject the memorial left Israeli politicians fuming.
“Unfortunately, this response is unacceptable as it rejects the central principles of global fraternity on which the Olympic ideal is supposed to rest,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who initiated the call.
Baird’s letter, co-signed by Canadian Sports Minister Bal Gosal, said that the 1972 terror attack, in which 11 Israeli athletes were killed by Palestinian terrorists in the Olympic village, targeted not only Israel, but the Olympic movement.
“Given the impact of this tragedy, on the Olympic community as a whole and the world, it should be marked publicly,” the letter read in part.
Last week, a number of Australian officials, including Prime Minister Julia Gillard, signed a letter calling for the moment of silence. They joined a number of British and American lawmakers who have also supported a memorial.