Anelka and the 'quenelle' - this is only the beginning


By Marcus Dysch
December 29, 2013
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West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka’s antisemitic goal “celebration” has plunged English football into its third race row in as many years.

The Frenchman’s “quenelle” salute – described by his country’s sports minister Valérie Fourneyron as an incitement to racial hatred, and by journalist Philippe Auclair as “cretinous” – brings to football stadiums in this country a controversy that is spiralling out of control across the Channel.

The rise of the antisemitic signal – part Nazi salute, part “up yours” gesture – has been so rapid that French authorities want to ban its creator, antisemitic “comedian” Dieudonné from performing in public.

I will leave it for others to explain at greater length the truly despicable track-record of Dieudonné, Anelka’s friend.

The archives of my own newspaper are stuffed full of examples of the French performer’s Jew-hatred, while this background piece from the Independent gives a flavour of how seriously the quenelle is being taken in France.

What worries me is what this means for English football and what happens next?

Few people in this country would have seen or heard of the quenelle before yesterday. But could Anelka’s actions lead to it becoming as popular, and notorious, here as in France?

Images of other Premier League players – including Manchester City’s French midfielder Samir Nasri – performing the salute are now working their way around the internet. They are not new, but they are being seen by English fans for the first time.

Within hours of Anelka’s goal, others were rushing to back him. Yannick Sagbo, the marauding French striker at my own beloved club, Hull City, was among them. He posted a tweet on Saturday night lauding Anelka as a "legend", apparently supporting Dieudonné and linking to an image of the goalscorer making the gesture.

How long will it be, we have to wonder, before English fans pose alongside their football heroes and perform the quenelle, just as Anelka is pictured alongside his supposed hero, Dieudonné?

How long will it be before a Nasri or a Sagbo “celebrates” a goal in the same way? Anelka’s actions – for which he remains totally unrepentant remember - may only be the first of many, not just on professional football pitches, but potentially also in playgrounds across the country.

If you think I’m overreacting consider the two most recent and serious racist incidents in the once-beautiful game.

When then-England captain John Terry called Anton Ferdinand a “****ing black ****” during a Chelsea versus Queens Park Rangers Premier League game, the fallout continued for nearly two years.

The case was dragged through both the criminal courts and the game’s own disciplinary procedures. Chelsea fans – notorious for their own history of antisemitism – responded at matches by booing not just Anton Ferdinand, the victim, but in matches against Manchester United they also targeted his brother, Rio Ferdinand.

There was no condemnation from them of Terry's despicable behaviour – to them he continues to be a “captain, leader, legend”.

And what can we make of Liverpool FC’s response to the comments made by their striker Luis Suárez, when he abused Manchester United defender Patrice Evra at least 10 times during one game?

As the FA conducted disciplinary action against the Uruguayan, Liverpool players and coaches emerged for their warm-up at a subsequent game wearing solidarity t-shirts displaying a picture of the striker. Liverpool fans booed Evra, just as Chelsea supporters had barracked the Ferdinands.

Two years on, Terry continues to captain Chelsea, and Suárez is currently stand-in captain of Liverpool.

When it comes to racism on the field, English football has thankfully not yet reached the levels of fans and clubs in eastern Europe. But worrying patterns have emerged. Chelsea and Liverpool set examples of how to respond to racism in the worst ways.

Should we expect West Brom to surprise us now with Anelka? I doubt it. Yesterday the club’s stand-in coach Keith Downing laughed off the quenelle gesture, saying Anelka was showing his support for a friend.

No one can expect Downing to have a working understanding of contemporary French antisemitism, but we should at the very least hope he knows when to keep his mouth shut.

The only thing he should have said in response was that the club would look into Anelka's actions. Five minutes on Google would have given Downing all the education he needed.

And what of the Football Association? It is already investigating the incident and will surely question Anelka. A hefty ban and fine are the only possible outcomes.

Suárez was banned for eight games and fined £40,000 for calling Evra “negrito”. Terry accepted a four game ban and a whopping £220,000 fine.

Whatever course of action the FA now takes, it is hard not to think the most serious damage has already been done – both on the field and the terraces.

I hope footballers and their fans surprise us by condemning both Anelka’s actions and all forms of racism in the game. But I won’t be holding my breath.

COMMENTS

Rich Armbach

Mon, 12/30/2013 - 17:24

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Having said all that you do have a habit of making it up as you go along don't you Marcus ? How is your mate Nick ?

http://zionistsbehavingbadly.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/who-wudda-thought-...

Anyway I do hope you are going to join us on the campaign against the ludicrous, gut wrenching plan to change Hull City's name to Hull Tigers.


happygoldfish

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 09:04

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Rich Armbach: Having said all that you do have a habit of making it up as you go along don't you Marcus ?

rich, there are people on these blog pages who, instead of speaking out against anti-semitism, do everything they can to draw attention away from it

you know full well that marcus dysch's report of anti-semitism on an english football pitch and of anti-semitism by a french comedian is based on and supported by a 2009 article by natasha lehrer and an article of last saturday by the independent's paris correspondent (and former foreign editor) john lichfield

and you know this because marcus's article contains two clearly marked clickable links directing the reader to those sources

you cannot defend anelka or dieudonné, so instead you imply that the jc reporter is "making it up" about them

Rich Armbach: Anyway I do hope you are going to join us on the campaign against the ludicrous, gut wrenching plan to change Hull City's name to Hull Tigers.

… and rich finishes by making it clear that – for him – anti-semitism on the football pitch and on the stage should be passed over, as less important even than the renaming of a football club
that's rich!

Rich Armbach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 10:45

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Excuse meeeeeee !!!!

I never implied Marcus was making it up as he went along on this occasion, merely pointing out his past record of doing just that. You do know what they say about broken clocks.

Further, I resent your trivialising of this naming issue. It was bad enough when Hull Rugby League Football Club became Hull Sharks ( pass the sick bag Alice ). If this happens it is doubtful whether either Marcus or I will want to go on living. At the very least we might well be found in the Haworth Arms drowning our sorrows together.

On his JC expense account of course.


happygoldfish

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 11:42

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one reason why so few people defend israel, or oppose anti-semitism, on these blogs is the certainty that they will be perpetually subjected to (unmoderated) harassment and lies

(even when what they say is incontrovertible … for example: as above, or a simple television listing)

Rich Armbach: Having said all that you do have a habit of making it up as you go along don't you Marcus ?

Rich Armbach: I never implied Marcus was making it up as he went along on this occasion …

that is exactly what rich implied …

otherwise why did he mention it?

or is he claiming in his defence that he's carrying out a personal campaign against marcus, harassing him whenever he posts here, irrespective of what he says?

(a campaign apparently based on him calling nick howard a "vicar" when he should have said "church of england assistant minister in christ church, new york")

that's rich!

Chaim Pesach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 12:02

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MEMO 356A sub clause 4 paragraph b. JBBC tonight features a programme on Jewish fish through the ages. First programme discusses gefilte fish: chopped or fried?


Rich Armbach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 13:46

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Except that Nick isn't a Church of England assistant minister in New York. You seem to have all the qualifications necessary to get to be a JC reporter.

Nick was specifically rejected by the Church of England who refused to send him on ordination training on the grounds that his attitudes were not those that were looked for in a CofE priest, hence his grudge against the Church


Chaim Pesach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 16:43

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MEMO HA8: Tomorrow on Greater Unserer Radio, the Edge of Where? Tales from the heim and other hair raising stories about a sheitl.


Rich Armbach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 16:50

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I was tempted to reply to " he works for the Church of England " but I decided to just let it stand as an everlasting monument to your ignorance and stupidity. And as for trying to educate ME on Nick Howard's history, too funny for words. I know him better than he knows himself.


Chaim Pesach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 16:59

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MEMO NW4 - The Bellends of Bell Lane speak of life in the shtetl. A treat for the New Year.


happygoldfish

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 17:00

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Chaim Pesach: JBBC tonight features a programme on Jewish fish through the ages.

Chaim Pesach: MEMO 007 - Correction: tonight on JITV, Ian Fleming's Goldersreen. The suave spy gets an outing as James Bondstein.

Chaim Pesach: MEMO 777 - On BBC Radio Jew, Flights of Fancy on El Al LY 316 from LHR to TLV

Chaim Pesach: MEMO HA8: Tomorrow on Greater Unserer Radio, the Edge of Where? Tales from the heim and other hair raising stories about a sheitl.

Chaim Pesach: MEMO NW4 - The Bellends of Bell Lane speak of life in the shtetl. A treat for the New Year.

chaim, i understand why you dislike israel so much that you trash everyone who has posted since you came here

Chaim Pesach: It seems to be inhabited by unhinged loons, Happy Goldfish, Richard Armbach, Suzanna et al, as it is.

… but i don't understand why you're so embarrassed at being jewish that you feel you have to make fun of posts advertising genuine tv and radio programmes of jewish interest


happygoldfish

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 17:00

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Rich Armbach: Except that Nick isn't a Church of England assistant minister in New York. …

yes he is! see http://www.christchurchnyc.com/#/an-anglican-church/leadership

Christ Church
New York City
an anglican church
Bernard Howard
assistant minister
Bernard Howard was brought up in a Jewish home in London, England. He began following Jesus as the Messiah two years after his bar mitzvah. After jobs in economic and political research, he worked for a summer camps organization before training for full-time ministry. He then spent several years as a freelance evangelist, speaking in colleges, schools and churches. When the inspiration strikes (very rarely) he updates his blog: www.sixtyguilders.org.

and https://twitter.com/BernardNHoward/status/411140506270199808

Yes that's incorrect. I'm an ordained Anglican, not a CofE vicar.

(anglican and cofe are the same thing, of course)

Rich Armbach: Nick was specifically rejected by the Church of England who refused to send him on ordination training on the grounds that his attitudes were not those that were looked for in a CofE priest, hence his grudge against the Church

you are referring to a daily mail article of (i think) 2006

since then, he has been an evangelist in england, and is now ordained (and no, i don't know which bishop ordained him, nor in which country)

here is some history (from 2008), if you're interested enough to watch it (i'm not): Becoming a Christian

Rich Armbach: … hence his grudge against the Church

he has no grudge against the church of england

he works for the church of england

like many cofe ministers and bishops (and unlike you), he speaks out against the very occasional anti-semitism in the cofe

you and your friends cannot answer that, so you try to discredit him by alleging a grudge, and by laying great weight on the purely technical distinction between being an assistant minister and a vicar (for historical reasons, there are no vicars in the usa)


Chaim Pesach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 17:15

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MEMO 666. How to bait a fish. A new talk at the LJCC on Jews and angling


Rich Armbach

Tue, 12/31/2013 - 17:19

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(and no, i don't know which bishop ordained him, nor in which country)

I do.

(anglican and cofe are the same thing, of course)

really ?


Ben F

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 13:32

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Maybe this will help Happy to get it...http://hurryupharriet.wordpress.com/in-the-beginning-there-was-the-council-of-christians-and-jews-how-it-all-came-about/


Rich Armbach

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 15:17

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Chaim Pesach

Wed, 01/01/2014 - 16:05

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Tee hee.


Ben F

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 11:49

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So just who is the boss when it comes to the attitude of British Jews to Israel? Find out here:

https://www.facebook.com/harriets.place


joemillis1959

Fri, 01/03/2014 - 14:02

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Great piece by Mick Davis. Bring on the JLC/Board merger.


suzanna

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 15:37

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Never mind a silly arm gesture - this is the true disgrace:

Ongoing attacks on children
Israeli occupation forces killed 28 Palestinians from the West Bank in 2013, three times as many as in 2012.

The year 2013 also saw the highest number of child fatalities by Israeli forces in the West Bank since 2006.

At least 11 children, including a two-year-old girl, were shot and injured by Israeli occupation forces enforcing the siege of Gaza during 2013.

Hala Abu Sbeikha, a toddler, was killed on 24 December 2013 in an Israeli air attack on Maghazi refugee camp in central Gaza.

Already on 3 January this year, Adnan Abu Khater, 16, died of injuries suffered when he was shot with live ammunition by Israeli occupation forces east of Jabaliya near the boundary fence between Gaza and present-day Israel.


suzanna

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 15:41

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Impunity:

Forget Anelka what about showing some 'outrage' on this?

HRW’s release (Jan 2014) highlights the persistent impunity enjoyed by members of the Israeli occupation forces who kill and injure Palestinians.

“Israel has indicted only 16 security officials for unlawfully killing Palestinians since September 2000, and convicted only six; the longest jail sentence imposed was for seven months, according to information Yesh Din, an Israeli rights group, obtained from the military,” says HRW.

Since 2000, more than 6,700 Palestinians, almost 1,400 of them children, have been killed by Israeli occupation forces in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.


happygoldfish

Thu, 03/06/2014 - 17:42

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the judgment (in the anelka case) of the regulatory commission (tribunal) of the football association can be read at http://www.thefa.com/~/media/files/pdf/nicolas-anelka-written-reasons-06...

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