MPs pay tribute to Munich athletes

By Jennifer Lipman, September 6, 2012

MPs reserved sharp criticism for Jacques Rogge and the International Olympic Committee on Wednesday at a Westminster debate marking the 40th anniversary of the Munich massacre, when 11 Israeli athletes and a policeman were killed after Palestinian Black September terrorists infiltrated the Olympic Village.

The discussion was convened by Harrow East MP Bob Blackman and attended by MPs including Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, and Shadow Olympics Minister Tessa Jowell. Mr Blackman described it as “shameful” that the IOC could not find one minute to commemorate the worst terrorist attack in Olympic history over the six weeks of the Games.

“Claims that commemoration will politicise the Olympics are fatuous and deny those that lost their lives that day their rightful place in the Olympic family,” he said. “Had the 11 murdered Olympians been from any other country than Israel, we would not be having this debate. The IOC would have organised a memorial at each and every Olympic Games.”

Other MPs criticised the IOC for giving into political correctness. Attendees observed a minute’s silence in their memory and several recited the names of the victims. Other speakers included Labour’s John Mann and Conservative MP Philip Hollobone, who said Munich had blackened the Palestinian cause.

“It is simply illegitimate for the Palestinians to say the only way they could attract attention was by committing such atrocities,” said Mr Hollobone, who expressed hope that IOC would still find “some way to commemorate those horrendous events”.

Last updated: 11:44am, September 6 2012