Flemish sports minister supports Olympic ceremony for Munich 11

THE HAGUE (JTA) — The sports minister of Flanders said he supports commemorating the victims of the 1972 Munich massacre during the London 2012 Olympics.

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The International Olympic Committee has declined requests to hold a moment of silence in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes and coaches who were killed by Palestinian terrorists at the Olympics in Munich.

The committee’s president, Jaques Rogge, was born in Ghent, in Belgium’s semi-autonomous Flemish Region.

In a letter this week to Joods Actueel, Belgium’s main Jewish publication, Sports Minister of the Flemish Region, Philippe Muyters wrote: “I am sympathetic to the proposal that IOC-chairman Jaques Rogge should hold a commemorative ceremony during the 2012 Olympics in memory of the 11 Israeli athletes who, along with a German police officer, were killed during a high jacking.”

He added that “one does not need to take a stand on the Israeli-Palestinian question to find the events of September 1972 heinous.”

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has also spoken in favor of holding the ceremony, along with American and Canadian lawmakers and Israel’s foreign ministry.

Ankie Rechess, a Dutch-Israeli journalist, in April launched an international campaign and a petition asking for the commemoration ceremony. Her husband, Andre Spitzer, was killed in the Munich Olympics, which he attended as a coach for the Israeli delegation.

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