Australian lawmakers vote unanimously for Olympic moment of silence

SYDNEY, Australia (JTA) – Australian lawmakers unanimously backed a motion supporting a moment of at the London Olympics in memory of the 11 Israelis murdered in Munich 40 years ago.

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About 100 lawmakers – including Prime Minister Julia Gillard and opposition leader Tony Abbott – voted in Canberra Tuesday for the motion by standing in silence as a mark of respect to the memory of the victims of the Munich massacre.

Proposed by Liberal lawmaker Paul Fletcher, the motion, which said the impact of the massacre by Black September terrorists in 1972 “has been seared on world consciousness,” urged the International Olympic Committee to commemorate the anniversary during next month’s Olympics.

Joshua Frydenberg, the only Jewish federal lawmaker in the opposition Liberal Party, seconded the motion. “Only by remembering this tragedy can we impart the message that it must never happen again,” he said.

The motion was also supported by Michael Danby, a Jewish lawmaker for the governing Labor Party, who blasted the intransigence of the IOC, which claimed a minute’s silence would politicize the Games.

“Perhaps their reluctance to acknowledge the 40th anniversary of the massacre is not simply a desire to kowtow to the Organization of the Islamic States,” he added. “Perhaps they don’t want people to remember their incompetence.”

Last month IOC president Jacques Rogge rejected an official request from Israel to allow a moment of silence for the Munich 11 at the July 27 opening ceremony of the London Games. Fletcher said he would be writing to Rogge, advising him of the unanimous resolution.

The Australian resolution, which is non-binding, comes less than two weeks after Canada’s parliament also passed a unanimous resolution supporting the memorial. Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee unanimously approved a non-binding resolution to honor the memory of the Munich victims, and last week the London Assembly joined the growing chorus of organizations urging the IOC to back down.

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