By Gilad Atzmon
Earlier today, Roger Cukierman , the head of CRIF, an umbrella group for Jewish institutions in France, admitted that Anelka’s gesture “was not anti-Semitic” and that he should not be heavily punished.
In a video interview, Cukierman said “it seems to me that this gesture (the quenelle) only has an anti-Semitic connotation once performed in front of a synagogue or a memorial to the Holocaust.” I guess that even the Board of Deputies of British Jews would agree that the football pitch is neither a synagogue nor is it a holocaust museum.
Cukierman added that “when the quenelle is performed in a place which is not specifically Jewish it…doesn’t deserve sanctions.”
Nicolas Anelka has called today on the Football Association to drop a charge against him over his ‘quenelle’ goal celebration and insists he is neither anti-Semitic or racist. Anelka questioned “what better expert” there could be than Roger Cukierman, the president of CRIF.
Other Jewish pressure groups, however, have called for Anelka to be handed more than a five-game suspension due to his lack of an apology. Ultra Zionist Jonathan Arkush, vice-president of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: “What he did was sufficiently serious to justify a longer suspension than five matches. He has not indicated one bit of remorse or regret or apologised for his actions.”
It seems as if we are left with no other option but to leave this dispute to the Jewish Lobby. We better let the CRIF, the Board of Deputies of British Jews and David Baddiel decide who is Kosher qualified to score a goal in the English league.