Great Britain’s Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport will not join the growing international campaign for a moment of silence at the upcoming London Summer Olympics for the 11 Israeli athletes murdered at the 1972 Munich Games.
“The decision as to whether a minute’s silence is held during the Games lies with the IOC,” a spokesman for Secretary Jeremy Hunt said, according to the London Jewish Chronicle.
The spokesman added that Hunt will represent the government at a private ceremony at the Guildhall, which is a joint initiative between the Israeli embassy, the Israeli National Olympic Committee and the Jewish community,” the paper reported.
Ankie Spitzer, widow of murdered Israeli fencer Andrei Spitzer, said that Lord Sebastian Coe, chair of the London Organizing Committee for the Olympic Games, had sent her an invitation to the August 6 memorial event at the Guildhall.
“That’s the memorial that we are organizing ourselves! And he wrote to tell me about it?” the paper reported she angrily said.
She called the Guildhall event a “way out” for the Olympic organizers, according to the newspaper. “It means the event doesn’t have to be in the Olympic Village or during the opening ceremony, so it will let them off the hook,” she reportedly said.
Another memorial event, organized by the country’s Zionist Federation, will take place this summer as well.
More than 50 British members of parliament have signed a motion calling for a minute’s silence. The effort is backed by the German Bundestag, about 100 Australian members of parliament, the Canadian parliament and the U.S. Senate.