U.S. President Barack Obama joined the campaign to hold a moment of silence at the London Olympics to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the massacre of 11 Israeli Olympians at the 1972 games.
“We absolutely support the campaign for a minute of silence at the Olympics to honor the Israeli athletes killed in Munich,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News in an email.
The 11 members of the Israeli delegation were taken hostage by Black September terrorists, who infiltrated Munich's Olympic village in 1972 and demanded the release of more than 200 Palestinian prisoners.
All 11 Israelis were murdered, most of them during a botched rescue operation by German police. Five terrorists and a German police officer were also killed.
The families of the victims of the 1972 massacre have mounted a global campaign to get the International Olympic Committee to hold an official moment of silence at the games. They were joined by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, who has been an outspoken critic of the IOC and has urged the committee to reconsider honoring the Israeli athletes.
IOC officials rejected the idea of holding a moment of silence this year as they have refused to do in the past. However, IOC representatives have attended commemorations organized by Israeli and Jewish groups.
Aside from Obama, the U.S. Senate, the German Bundestag, the Canadian and Australian parliaments, about 50 members of the British Parliament, the Israeli government and Jewish organizations worldwide have urged the IOC to hold a moment of silence.
The Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) applauded President Obama for supporting the recognition of the 40 year anniversary of the event, and called on the IOC to "embrace the Olympic spirit and come together to honor the memory of the slain Israeli athletes and coaches and stand strongly against terrorism and hate in our time.”
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