British Zionist Federation Chairman Harvey Rose slammed the International Olympic Committee on Friday for refusing to hold a moment of silence at Friday night’s opening ceremony to commemorate the 11 Israeli Olympic team members who were killed by Palestinian terrorists during the 1972 Munich Games.
During a memorial service for the murdered athletes held in the Israeli Embassy in London, which included prayers and a minute of silence, Rose accused the IOC of having an anti-Israel bias, saying he was “absolutely convinced that if any other country’s athletes had been slaughtered the way the Israeli athletes were slaughtered then there would have been a moment of silence.”
“Shame on the IOC for its clear anti-Israel bias. Shame on the IOC for not appreciating what the Olympics are all about,” he added.
Israel’s Ambassador to the UK Daniel Taub said the murder of the Israeli team members was “the darkest moment of Olympic history,” calling it “A tragedy for Israel and for the Jewish people.”
“Less than three decades after the Shoah, we witnessed the murder of Jews, as Jews, on German soil. It’s a tragedy we have to remember, particularly in a week when we saw terrorism against Israel strike again as we saw in Bulgaria,” said Taub.
Taub called the Munich attack a strike on Olympic values and said commemoration was vital to show the world that those values were still relevant.
IOC president Jacques Rogge on Friday said the IOC had not been pressured by any government to hold a moment of silence.
“There has been no pressure from any nation whatsoever,” Rogge said. “The IOC has always honored the memory of the victims of Munich ’72.”
Rogge led a minute of silence for the victims inside the athletes village on Monday, will attend a private ceremony in London during the games and will take part in a commemoration on the 40th anniversary on September 5 at the Munich airport where most of the Israelis died.
“We have always commemorated and will continue to commemorate the memory of the killed athletes,” he said.
Israel, the US, Canada, Australia, Germany and numerous other countries have urged the IOC to commemorate the victims of the 1972 Munich massacre at the Games’ opening ceremony, but were rebuffed by Rogge.