Right Field

Anti-Semitic Gestures Given in NBA, EPL

San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker and West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Alenka have been spotted giving a “reverse-Nazi salute” made popular by a French anti-Semitic “comedian” named Dieudonné.

According to one report, Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center is demanding that Eva Longoria’s basketball-playing husband apologize for his actions:

Calling Parker’s use of the gesture “disgusting and dangerous” and, saying that the star was “mainstreaming anti-Semitic hate,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the SWC, said that Parker should, “apologize for his use of the quenelle ‘Nazi’ salute.”

“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” Cooper said, in an interview with The Algemeiner.

Anelka, who had celebrated his first of two goals against an English Premier League opponent with the salute on Saturday, denied yesterday that his gesture on the pitch was hateful:

But in a series of messages issued on Twitter on Sunday afternoon, Anelka insisted the gesture was merely a tribute to his friend, French comedian Dieudonné M’bala, and that the gesture had been misinterpreted.

Dieudonné, who invented the quenelle (which literally means dumpling), is a hugely controversial figure in France, where he has been convicted six times of defamation, causing offence and inciting racial hatred, and has been fined a total of £53,400.

Anelka said: “ (The) meaning of quenelle: anti-system. I do not know what the word ‘religion’ has to do with this story! This is a dedication to Dieudonné. With regard to the ministers who give their own interpretations of my quenelle, they are the ones that create confusion and controversy without knowing what it really means, this gesture.

I ask people not to be duped by the media. And of course, I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and I fully assume (stand by) my gesture.”

Dieudonné has claimed he is anti-Zionist and anti-establishment, but not anti-semitic. An appeals court upheld his most recent conviction last month, imposing a fine of £23,000 after complaints over a song performed in one of his videos about “Shoah nanas” or “Holocaust chicks”.

More here, here, and here.

Jason Epstein is the president of Southfive Strategies, LLC. He was a public-relations consultant for the Turkish embassy in Washington from 2002 to 2007.


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