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Canada Joins Campaign to Commemorate Munich Massacre

Canada has joined an international campaign urging a moment of silence at the opening of the London Olympics to mark the 40th anniversary of the killing of Israeli athletes at the Munich Games.

Canada’s House of Commons on Thursday unanimously passed a motion to commemorate the “tragic terrorist events of the 1972 Munich Olympics wherein 11 Israeli athletes were murdered.”

“Civil society groups and political leaders around the world have been calling on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to hold a moment of silence at the opening ceremony of the London Games,” said Irwin Cotler, the Liberal Party parliament member who proposed the resolution. “I am delighted that the Canadian Parliament is the first to unanimously support this call.”

A spokesperson for Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the minister called Jacques Rogge, IOC president, this week and “re-iterated his strong support” for the official commemoration of the 40th anniversary of the attack, reports the National Post newspaper. That followed a letter Baird sent Rogge this month saying Canada “strongly supports Israel’s request” for a moment of silence at the opening ceremony in London.

The IOC last month ruled out any possibility of a tribute to the Israeli athletes at the opening ceremony, leaving Israeli politicians fuming. The committee “has regularly commemorated the 1972 tragedy and will do so once more in London at a ceremony during the Games, but there will not be a minute’s silence in the opening ceremony,” an IOC spokesperson told Agence France Presse.

As during every Summer Olympics since 1972, the Israeli Olympic committee will organize a memorial. Rogge will take part in the London ceremony, as he did at the one at the 2008 Games in Beijing, the spokesperson added.

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