The pass over from antisemitism to anti-Zionism: and back again

April 24th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

This year’s Pesach coincided with antisemitic events in the USA, the Ukraine, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority.

Four examples, from four continents, all different: yet inhabiting the same antisemitic ballpark.

Taken together, they show how antisemitism and anti-Zionism pass over, one into the other: and back again.

On 13 April, the day before Pesach, three people (including a grandfather and his grandson) were murdered in shootings at two Jewish sites in Kansas by an American white supremacist, Frazier Glenn Miller, who’s track record reads like a cliché of all that is worst about American extremism. It includes the usual rage against “ZOG”, the so-called “Zionist Occupation Government”. In Miller’s words:

I warned those federal SOB’s. I told them repeatedly that if ZOG (Zionist Occupation Government) framed our leaders that we would wage war against them because war would then be our only hope for the survival of our Race…I, Glenn Miller, this 6th day of April 1987, do herewith declare total war against ZOG.


We have been sentenced to death by Jews who rule over us and our death is acquiesced to by corrupt, cowardly, political whores the Jews-media allows to get elected.

On 14 April, as Pesach began, Jews leaving synagogue in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, were handed leaflets by armed men, masked and in uniform. Written in Russian, bearing the Russian national symbol and the insignia of the (pro-Russian breakaway) Donetsk People’s Republic, it read:

Dear Ukraine citizens of Jewish nationality, due to the fact that the leaders of the Jewish community of Ukraine…oppose the pro-Slavic People’s Republic of Donetsk…all citizens of Jewish descent, over 16 years of age…are required to report to the Commissioner for Nationalities in the Donetsk Regional Administration building and register…ID and passport are required to register your Jewish religion, religious documents of family members, as well as documents establishing the rights to all real estate property…Evasion of registration will result in citizenship revoke and you will be forced outside the country with a confiscation of property.

Local officials strenuously denied the leaflet’s authenticity and it is now widely described as a hoax: but that inadequately describes something distributed by armed men in uniform outside the synagogue and reportedly elsewhere. The fear is certainly real enough, as is the grave historical and contemporary context.

On 18 April, the Jewish Chronicle reported that Jewish leaders in Caracas, Venezuela, had that week issued a plea “for understanding and respect” between the ruling and opposition parties. Since February, political unrest in Venezuela has seen the deaths of at least 39 people. Yul Jabour, the deputy of Venezuela’s ruling (left-wing) National Assembly blamed a familiar source, stating:

International Zionism is involved in the wave of Nazi-fascist violence in Caracas

The statement was distributed by the Ministry of Communications. It continues the rhetoric of the previous Chavez administration; and draws upon one of the opposition leaders, Henrique Capriles Radonski, being of Jewish descent.

On 19 April, in Ramallah, a press statement by Fatah spokesman Ahmad Assaf described Al-Qaeda and its leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri as serving “global Zionism“. The Palestinian presidency-controlled news agency Wafa website reported (translation by BBC Monitoring):

Assaf said that “The cards of Al-Zawahiri and his ilk, the contractors of international terrorism, were exposed long time ago. These people have one mission only, which primarily aims to serve the goals and schemes of world Zionism…we have not seen a single action by them against the Israeli occupation. What does this mean?”

Assaf added that…Al-Zawahiri comes out to publicly declare his direct contribution to the Zionist schemes and to participate in the pressure, distortion, and falsification campaigns…He said: “For whose benefit is Al-Zawahiri carrying out this dirty and suspect mission?”

The Kansas shootings passed through the 24 hour news cycle, but with little if any examination of their meaning for American Jews. This, in a country where the very worst rhetoric appears to be allowed, as is the possession of deadly weaponry, despite repeated mass shootings in public places.

By contrast, the Ukrainian leaflets struck an exceptionally raw nerve, more so even than actual physical attacks upon Jews in that fracturing country. If the limited reaction to the Kansas shootings perhaps showed how secure American Jews are perceived to be, the exact opposite can surely be said for the Ukrainian leaflet story - with the actual true identity of the perpetrators (Ukrainian, Russian, real, or false flag) seeming hardly to matter to the outside world.

The Venezuelan and Palestinian stories were practically invisible.

In Venezuela, at least half of the 18,000 strong Jewish community has emigrated since President Hugo Chavez came to power in 1999. His anti-Americanism came fully laden with anti-Zionism, and the enactment of such policies by a national government has provided a harsh and valuable warning for mainstream Jewish communities everywhere. Unfortunately, it remains largely unknown.

In the Palestinian Authority and in many Muslim countries, it is utterly routine to abuse opponents as Zionists and to claim that Zionism wields global power. Nevertheless, saying the word “routine” risks blinding us to the antisemitic resonance and impact of such rhetoric. Similarly, whilst it may be cogently argued that this anti-Zionism is primarily driven by the conflict against Israel, this risks wrongly categorising it all as merely being overheated or wrong-headed anti-Israel expression.

Overall, these four cases exhibit strikingly similar beliefs and patterns in very different settings. First comes their mutual understanding of antisemitism and anti-Zionism, believing that Jews and Zionists possess colossal power and are irredeemably hostile to the rest of society and the body politic. Second comes their understanding of how antisemitism and anti-Zionism can be harnessed as a political force, to be used against your opponents every bit as much as it is to be used against actual Jews. Third comes intimidation and violence against the target of the rhetoric.

We know the lessons from Ukraine. Let us try and learn them elsewhere too.

Neo-Nazi Terror Attack in Kansas

April 14th, 2014 by CST

On the afternoon of 13 April, a suspect identified as 73-year-old Frazier Glenn Cross Jr (a.k.a. Glenn Miller) reportedly opened fire with a shotgun in the car park of the Jewish Community Center in Overland Park, Kansas. One victim died at the scene and a second died from his injuries a short while later in hospital. Approximately 15 minutes later, the attacker again reportedly opened fire in the car park of Village Shalom, a nearby retirement home, killing one person.

The victims in the first shooting were William Lewis Corporan, aged 69 years, and his grandson Reat Griffin Underwood, aged 14 years, both of whom are United Methodist Christians. Reat was one of hundreds of young people from throughout the neighbourhood who were attending the centre for a singing contest. The victim in the second shooting was a woman who has not been named at this time.

According to law enforcement reports, the suspect was arrested without incident a short while later in the car park of a nearby school. He is reported to have shouted “Heil Hitler” during the shootings and arrest. Cross (see profile here) was a former Ku Klux Klan leader in North Carolina, where he then led the now defunct White Patriot Party. He was also active in the infamous neo-Nazi terror group, The Order and the hate site, Vanguard News Network (slogan: “No Jews, Just Right”).

At present there is no known UK link to the shootings.

CST has been in contact with Police and strongly advises the UK Jewish Community to follow existing security measures at this time.

Please direct any security enquiries to CST.

Beware the Ides of March: Malaysian Airlines, the Ukrainian Revolution, BBC, Washington

April 1st, 2014 by Mark Gardner

The last week of March 2014 was a busy one for conspiracy theories about Jews and Zionists, with the Illuminati thrown in for good measure. It may be April Fools day and these people may be fools, but none of this is particularly amusing. Here is a quick round up:

The Malaysian Airliner Rothschild Conspiracy

The Australian website of International Business Times and the Spanish website of Russia Today were two (apparently) non-lunatic media outlets that reported the claim that Jacob Rothschild was somehow involved with the tragic disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

The International Business Times (29 March) headline explains it:

Disappearance of Boeing 777 Made Illuminati Member Jacob Rothschild Sole Owner of Major Semiconductor Patent

The Russia Today (22 March) site joined the Jewish money dots:

The Rothschilds are a dynasty of financiers and international bankers of German-Jewish origin. The family is from the nineteenth century one of the most influential families of bankers and financiers of Europe.”

The Ukrainian neo-Nazi Antisemites and Zionists Conspiracy

George Galloway, on Iranian broadcaster Press TV (published 28 March) asked a viewer if Zionists are supporting antisemitic Ukrainian neo-Nazis in order to get Ukrainian Jews to flee to Israel. (Here on youtube from 35secs):

…Is this one of the reasons why the Zionists sent gunmen to the Maidan [Independence Square] in Kiev, to help a revolution…the cutting edge of which, and the heavy-lifting of which, was being done by actually outright Nazi antisemites?

…The bizarre alliance in the Maidan is part of the thinking of this. Well if these Nazis come to power in Kiev, and they hate Jews so much, the remaining Ukrainian Jews will feel that they have to go and settle in Palestine.

This is an anti-Zionist conspiracy theory in claimed opposition to antisemitism. “The Zionists” sent the gunmen, helping the revolting Ukrainian Nazis to succeed. “The Zionists” are encouraging antisemitism against Ukrainian Jews.

Galloway described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the biggest catastrophe of my life”, so he must be sorely pained that the USSR is no longer able to best Israel as a shelter for Jews fleeing antisemitism; and given the usual antisemitic filth carried on Press TV, perhaps we should thank him for this kind-of-original supposedly philosemitic interruption. (Only the setting is new. The ‘Zionists encourage antisemitism’ narrative is an old calumny.)

The BBC-Siemens Zionist Conspiracy

Moving from the global to the local, CST received undated cuttings from the newspaper Westminster News, telling readers that Zionists run the BBC. This is of course old hat, but the claim had a new twist. Apparently, it is all done via the technology company Siemens (which is German wouldn’t you know):

…not one word can be broadcast by the BBC unless it goes through the German Siemens company’s network systems. The Zionists who own Siemens control the BBC’s output, and have done for at least 10 years.

This article was written by David Noakes, who stood for the leadership of UKIP in 2006. See him here on youtube smugly explaining (at 4.48):

…At the top of the pyramid of power there are the Illuminati, incredibly rich families and at the top of those there are incredibly rich banking families

Westminster News also told its readers that 80% of Conservative MPs are members of Conservative Friends of Israel and “with the honourable exception of a recent Channel Four ‘Dispatches’ documentary”:

This fact is relentlessly hidden from the people of Britain by our bought and paid for Zionist and television companies…

This article was by its editor David Hetherington. According to the publisher’s website (Sketch News), Westminster News is distributed to “affluent AB1s” in Belgravia, Knightsbridge etc and seeks advertisers targeting this elite market. How this squares with its anti-Zionism (and anti-Illuminatism) is not explained.

The Jewish Lobby runs America Conspiracy

Less original than all of the above, but certainly more important and very widely believed.

On this occasion, spouted by former Israeli Gilad Atzmon and run by Iran’s Press TV (22 March), but not on the George Galloway show. In the context of two senators saying that American aid to Israel will “not wane” post-2017:

The message is very simple. This is just another proof that American life, American foreign policy, and definitely American budget is dominated by the Jewish lobby that serves primarily Jewish interests,” Atzmon said.

Interestingly, the Press TV headline did not refer to Atzmon’s “Jewish lobby”. Instead, it went for the “Israel lobby” option:

The Israel lobby in the United States is dominating the country’s foreign policy and finances, a political commentator says.

Did Press TV even realise that they made the switch? Was it an unconscious accident, or deliberate political correctness? Either way, it shows how all of these conspiracies can end up on the same page: literally and metaphorically.

We must massacre Jews…and prevent them sowing corruption”, impose dhimmi humiliation upon them

Finally, In a Western setting, there is a tendency to relate such conspiracy tales, be they antisemitic or anti-Zionist, back to the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion, or (at the root of it all) the claim that Jews killed Jesus. Hamas (with its Muslim Brotherhood links) has a different tradition however, harshly expressed on its Al Aqsa TV channel. (This came earlier in March, on the 6th):

…begin by quoting what Allah said about them: “The worst of beasts in the sight of Allah are those who disbelieve. They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time.”

…What is the solution to this gang of people? The Al-Anfal chapter of the Koran provides us with the answer…”They are the ones with whom you made a covenant, but they break their covenant every time,” Allah added: “If you gain mastery over them in a war, use them to disperse those who follow them that they may remember.” This indicates that we must massacre them, in order to break them down and prevent them from sowing corruption in the world.

They are the ones who still spark the flame of war, but Allah has taken it upon Himself to extinguish it. …We must restore them to the state of humiliation imposed upon them…dhimmi citizens. This status must be imposed upon them by war. They must pay the jizya security tax while they live in our midst…

However, in Palestine, where they are occupiers and invaders, they cannot have the status of dhimmis.



Bald-faced liar in hair sale shock

March 25th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

Channel 4 has paid Holocaust-denier David Irving £3,000 for what is claimed to be a lock of Hitler’s hair, as part of a programme “Dead Famous DNA” which will be broadcast this week.

The Jewish Chronicle quotes a Channel 4 spokesman saying:

We wanted to obtain a sample of Hitler’s DNA because scientific analysis of it could provide a key biological component to one of the most significant biographies in history.

The programme makes clear David Irving’s views and his denial of the Holocaust. However, we believe the potential importance of the scientific and historical insight justified the purchase of the sample.

How a man of Irving’s integrity can be trusted to provide Hitler’s hair is somewhat questionable: as is the morality of paying him so much money to do so, on what sounds like a pseudo-scientific wild goose chase.

Channel 4 is a “public service broadcaster”, meaning it ought not to chase such tawdry means of raising viewers and advertising monies. Indeed, C4’s corporate responsibility strategy begins, “Accountability
We aim to promote responsible behaviour. Community We aim to continue to play a responsible role in the community“.

Section 3.3 of OFCOM’s regulations state that criminals should not receive payment “whether directly or indirectly for a programme contribution…relating to his/her crime/s”. Irving was convicted and imprisoned in Austria under Holocaust denial law. This law does not exist in the UK, so it would be a considerable overstretch to say that Irving falls foul of OFCOM regulations against interviewing criminals: but it does add to the stench of this whole affair.

There is, however, another way of looking at all of this. It is simply to recall that for much of the 1980s and 1990s, David Irving was actually somebody who really mattered, especially when touring Germany after the collapse of the Berlin Wall and being enthusiastically received by Germans of all ages. (As best shown in Channel 4’s outstanding Dispatches documentary of 27 November 1991, “The Truth Sets Us Free”.)

Irving’s initial (pre May 1989) ‘Hitler never knew’ line was more interesting, nuanced and sustainable than the various levels of Holocaust denial that he subsequently lurched between: until the April 2000 epic fail of his law suit against Deborah Lipstadt eventually left him bankrupted and irrelevant.

Now, Irving tries to eke out a living from his past notoriety. It stinks that Channel 4 have helped contribute to his pension fund and his needy ego, but it also serves as a welcome reminder of just how far Irving has fallen since his glory days.

The BNP’s slow return to antisemitism

March 14th, 2014 by Dave Rich

Two recent statements by the British National Party and its leader Nick Griffin, have added to a growing sense that the party is returning to its antisemitic roots.

Like several far right parties in Western Europe, the BNP has spent the past few years insisting that any antisemitism or neo-Nazism was in its past. This coincided with a focus on Muslims as the primary target for the BNP’s propaganda. In 2006, Griffin even wrote a long article on the BNP website attacking “Judeo-obsessives” who see a Jewish conspiracy behind all the troubles of the world.

Coming from the author of Who Are The Mindbenders?, a conspiracy tract that simply listed Jews who worked in the media (as if that demonstrated a Jewish conspiracy to brainwash the unsuspecting masses), this was quite a u-turn.

In his infamous 2009 appearance on BBC’s Question Time, Griffin claimed to support Israel and danced around his history of Holocaust Denial. In fact Griffin has never truly changed his support for Holocaust Denial. This is telling: Holocaust Denial is a core defining belief of the neo-Nazi far right. If Griffin acknowledged the full scale and horror of the Nazi plan to exterminate European Jewry, he would take the BNP out of the far right forever. Instead, he would rather befriend the rising stars of the Hungarian and Greek far right. Note the antisemitic image that the BNP used to illustrate the article in the preceding link, and the reference to “international Zionists” in the headline.

The BNP took another step back towards its past in its statement on the crisis in Ukraine, which deployed the old antisemitic idea that Bolshevism was a Jewish movement. This is not just a neo-Nazi idea: it comes directly from the original Nazis themselves. The BNP’s added twist was to connect this to a very modern antisemitic conspiracy about “neo-cons” in the West:

The greatest irony of all is that, while naive Ukrainian nationalists blame Russia for the murder of millions during the 1930s, the Bolsheviks were overwhelmingly not Russian at all, although the majority of their victims were.

Indeed, the radical Jewish racism and supremacism and anti-Christian hatred that in the 1930s produced the Bolshevik terror, now largely find their outlet in the extreme Zionism, anti-white fanaticism and globalism of the neo-cons.

The Ukrainian nationalists who provided the backbone of the recent revolution/coup against the elected but pro-Russian government are undoubtedly sincere, but they have been manipulated, organised, funded and armed by sinister forces in the West, which are in reality very far from being Western.

The BNP’s linkage of “Jewish racism”, “extreme Zionism”, “anti-white fanaticism” and “globalism” may seem bizarre to contemporary ears, but it makes perfect sense in the strange, conspiracy-addled world of the far right. It has long been a staple of far right belief that post-war non-white immigration to Britain (and other Western nations) is part of a Jewish plot to weaken and destroy the white race. This rarely makes it into BNP propaganda nowadays, mainly because it sounds completely bonkers to the average voter. But in recent years the BNP has lost most of its council seats and Griffin will probably lose his seat in the European Parliament in May; while the EDL’s street activism has left the BNP looking rather pedestrian (before the EDL itself imploded last year). So if the BNP is going to stop prioritising electoral politics, we can expect a return to the overt antisemitism and conspiracy theories that have been hidden away for the past few years.

What would this kind of politics look like? It would look like the statement Griffin made in the European Parliament this week, which you can watch below (or if you can’t stomach it, just read the transcript):

An unholy alliance of leftists, capitalists and Zionist supremacists has schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation with the deliberate aim of breeding us out of existence in our own homelands. As indigenous resistance to this human genetic modification industry grows, the criminal elite seeks new ways to camouflage their project. First, their immigrant pawns were temporary guest workers. Then it was a multiracial experiment. Then they were refugees. Then the answer to a shrinking population. Different excuses, different lies. And asylum is just another one, but the real aim stays the same: the biggest genocide in human history, the final solution of the Christian European problem. This crime demands a new set of Nuremberg trials and you people will be in the dock.

And for an older version of the same idea, see this 1962 poster from the National Socialist Movement, a neo-Nazi predecessor of the BNP:

NSM poster


Antisemitic cuckoo coming to Nottingham University?

March 13th, 2014 by Mark Gardner

The participation of Tim Llewellyn in a forthcoming FOSIS (Federation of Student Islamic Student Societies) conference at Nottingham University on 15th March, raises deeply troubling questions about the attitude of FOSIS to its Jewish counterpart, the Union of Jewish Students.

Llewellyn is a former BBC journalist, who now peddles ugly conspiracy theories about Israel, Zionists and Jews, including British Jewish students. In 2006, he describedthe Zionists” as:

this cuckoo in the nest of British politics

In the same article he wrote this about the Union of Jewish Students:

…the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

This is an antisemitic conspiracy smear that places the representative body of ordinary British Jewish students at the service of a conspiracy to influence “British public life” via “the media, the banking sector and information technology”. Like all conspiracy theories, when it is actually spelled out in detail, you can see how cuckoo it is: claiming that the Union of Jewish Students selects and places and directs undergraduates into life-long careers and positions of influence. (Many former UJS activists will be outraged at not having been invited to join this gravy train of conspiracy, success and influence! They may even demand a return on their membership fees.)

This is the man whom FOSIS want to address their own students, rendering them cuckoo.

Imagine how university and student union authorities,  Muslim student societies and Muslim students would rightly react if the Union of Jewish Students invited a speaker like Llewellyn, with his track record of conspiracy trash talk. For example, see this previous CST blog from last June, when Llewellyn addressed the journalistic Frontline Club and claimed BBC staff were scared of “the Jewish lobby”. The chair objected to his saying “Jewish” whereupon Llewellyn replied:

Yes, but they use Jewish connections to get you.

Grudgingly, he changed the label, saying “alright, its an Israeli lobby“, but then asked “why are we afraid of them“:

Why are we afraid of them. That’s what I don’t understand. You know, I mean, we’re all British…I may be Welsh, but I’m British.

At this stage the anti-racist interventions stopped. Nobody asked Llewellyn if he meant to imply that this “Jewish lobby…Israeli lobby” that uses “Jewish connections to get you” is somehow not British: or at least not British in the moral sense that he (an upstanding Welshman) is.

The Frontline Club meeting was for journalists and pro-Palestinian activists. The Nottingham University meeting is for students and pro-Palestinian activists. Will Llewellyn be warned beforehand to avoid using the word “Jewish”? And, even if he does cover up, how will FOSIS and the university and student union authorities mitigate against the animosity he risks spreading against ordinary Jewish students for whom a basic sense of Zionism and supporting Israel is part and parcel of their identity?

The Palestine Solidarity Campaign has cleaned some of the muck out of its membership and websites in recent years. The group’s leader Sarah Colborne is one of the speakers at the Nottingham event. Will she intervene if Llewellyn takes it too far? Or, might Norman Finkelstein, another of the speakers?

Finally, some more context for Llewellyn’s rant against the Union of Jewish Students, including an antisemitic cuckoo:

No alien polity has so successfully penetrated the British government and British institutions during the past ninety years as the Zionist movement and its manifestation as the state of Israel…the Zionists have manipulated British systems as expertly as maestros, here a massive major chord, there a minor refrain, the audience, for the most part, spellbound.

…this cuckoo in the nest of British politics…

… Israel had worked its spells well, with a lot of help from its friends: these lined the benches of parliament, wrote the news stories and editorials, framed the way we saw and heard almost everything about the Middle East on TV, radio and in the press. History, the Bible, Nazi Germany’s slaughter of the Jews, Russian pogroms, the Jewish narrative relayed and parlayed through a thousand books, films, TV plays and series, radio programmes, the skills of Jewish writers, diarists, memoirists, artists and musicians, people like us and among us, all had played their part.

…the fervent Zionist Labour MPs, some of them little better than bully-boys, Richard Crossman (not a Jew), Ian Mikardo, Maurice Edelman, Emmanuel “Manny” Shinwell, Sidney Silverman, Konni Zilliacus et al, are, mercifully, not only no longer with us but have not been replaced, not in such virulent form.

… the Union of Jewish Students, which elbows and induces Zionistically inclined undergraduates towards influential positions in British public life, especially the media, the banking sector and information technology.

We can imagine the excuses that will be made for Llewellyn, with FOSIS and others saying he is ‘only’ anti-Israel, and of course not antisemitic; whilst the various campus authorities will probably cite freedom of speech. But, in all seriousness, look at the above again and consider again what reaction Jewish students could rightly expect if they invited a speaker who said of Muslims:

alien polity…manipulated British systems…cuckoo in the nest…people like us and among us…

And then, the list of MP’s, whom he is glad to see dead, including “Richard Crossman (not a Jew)”: meaning of course that the others are…shock…horror…Jews!

The modern day inheritors of this conspiracy: the Union of Jewish Students, which keeps placing these cuckoos in the British nests.

It is not too late for FOSIS to disinvite Llewellyn. Perhaps they were unaware of his outrageous slander against their Jewish counterparts. Then again, perhaps FOSIS agree with Llewellyn and this invite merely shows their true attitude towards Jewish students and their representative body.

FA ban for Nicolas Anelka – the written report

March 7th, 2014 by Dave Rich

The FA has published (pdf) the written report of the Independent Regulatory Commission that last week found Nicolas Anelka guilty of an aggravated breach of their rules for his ‘Quenelle’ salute goal celebration. CST welcomed the fact that the Commission found Anelka guilty but we did not comment on the specific punishment given to Anelka, as we wanted to wait until the FA had published this report that explains the Commission’s reasoning. Anelka was banned for 5 matches and fined £80,000: the 5 match ban is mandatory for cases of racist abuse in English football, but it can be increased up to 10 matches if there are “additional aggravating factors”.

This blog post sets out our thoughts on the case in detail now that we have read this report. In brief, we feel there are three points of note:

  • The FA did a good job of prosecuting this case and it is encouraging that it sought a more severe punishment than the 5 match ban that the Commission imposed.
  • The Commission’s decision that Anelka did not intend his ‘Quenelle’ to express or promote antisemitism via support for Dieudonné is baffling given the evidence it heard and accepted from both Anelka and the FA, and its refusal to increase his ban above 5 matches is disappointing.
  • The FA should strengthen its rules regarding punishments for cases of racist abuse, in line with the scale of punishments introduced by UEFA last year.

Firstly, it is important to point out that there is a division of roles in cases such as this that can be confusing: the FA effectively acts as prosecutor, charging Anelka and presenting the case against him, but the Commission, though entirely independent, operates under the FA’s own rules. Thus the FA has ultimate responsibility for the decision of the Commission, but does not make that decision itself.

The report sets out in some detail the vile antisemitism of Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, the French comedian/politician who invented the Quenelle and to whom Anelka dedicated his goal celebration. This includes a description of a show performed by Dieudonné in January 2013, attended by Anelka, in which the following occurred (para 38):

Dieudonné refers to Patrick Timsit, an Algerian Jewish comedian, as “very, very Jewish”. He says this about him: “… if we were to find ourselves in the situation of the ‘30s … he [Patrick Timsit] better not come and hide in my cellar … from annoyance to deportation”. We agree that is a reference the persecution of Jews by Adolf Hitler in the 1930s and a further reference to the practice of Jews seeking to avoid such persecution by hiding in cellars. The reference to deportation is also a reference to the transportation of Jews to concentration camps, at which they were “exterminated”. In short, we agree that this sketch by Dieudonné is obviously and grotesquely anti-Semitic. It is immediately followed by light music, during which Dieudonné performs the quenelle.

There is much more of this in the report, if you can stomach it.

The report shows that the FA built a strong case against Anelka and presented it well, for which it deserves credit; especially as few (if any) people at the FA would have been familiar with the Quenelle or Dieudonné when this whole affair began in December. CST provided evidence to the FA and we hope this helped their understanding of the issues. The Commission found the FA’s case compelling (para 94):

We concluded that the quenelle is strongly associated with Dieudonné. We further concluded that Dieudonné is strongly associated with anti-Semitism and, as a result, we found that the quenelle is strongly associated with anti-Semitism. We agreed with the FA that it is not possible to divorce that association from the gesture. When NA performed the quenelle on the 28 December 2013, it had that association; it was strongly associated with and contained a reference to anti-Semitism.

The FA also argued for an increased punishment above the mandatory 5 match ban. Put together, the FA’s approach to the case and its request for an increased punishment indicate that it is unfair to suggest, as some have done, that the FA does not take antisemitism seriously or treat it as a ‘lesser’ form of racism.

This suggestion has arisen in part because Anelka was given a 5 match ban whereas in other cases, particularly that involving Luis Suarez in 2011, the ban was longer. The length of ban given to Anelka has been much criticised, and having now read the Commission’s report we feel this criticism is justified.

As David Conn writes in the Guardian:

The public waited a week for the explanation from the Football Association’s regulatory commission as to how it decided Nicolas Anelka’s quenelle gesture was antisemitic but that he had not “intended to express or promote antisemitism” when he used it. The three-man commission chaired by a QC specialising in sports law, Christopher Quinlan, produced 35 pages of legal reasoning, then on this central conclusion of theirs left us none the wiser.

Frankly, the Commission’s thinking on this point is baffling. The report notes Anelka’s evidence as follows (paras 70-73):

In his witness statement dated the 7 February 2014, he stated, “The reason I made the quenelle gesture after scoring a goal during the Match was simply as a ‘high five’ or ‘hello’ to the comedian Dieudonné. I wanted to dedicate the goal to Dieudonné as a friendly gesture. I know that the quenelle sign is closely associated with Dieudonné (who I believe invented it in the first place) and that he would therefore know (if he was watching, or subsequently saw the footage) by me making the quenelle gesture that I was saying hello to him and dedicating that goal to him.”


He became aware of Dieudonné in about 2000. He has met him once and attended one show, Foxtrot. He has watched recordings of his shows.


He insisted that he did not know on or before 28 December 2013 of the controversy surrounding Dieudonné. He dedicated the goal to him at that time because it was his first opportunity he had; it was his first league goal for WB. He said it was a coincidence that at that time Dieudonné was the subject of such controversy in France; that played no part in his decision to dedicate the quenelle to him for he had no idea of the storm.

He liked Dieudonné ”a lot” as a comedian. Some of his humour was lost in translation. He did not accept Dieudonné was anti-Semitic. He did not understand, he said, that Jacky was dancing (with pineapples) in a concentration camp uniform. Though he was educated in France (where the Holocaust is part of the curriculum), he knew nothing of “Jewish stories” he said. He denied knowing that the quenelle was (as was put) an anti-Semitic gesture.

Having heard all the evidence, the Commission decided the following (para 86):

The quenelle is inextricably bound up with Dieudonné. We accepted Professor Hand’s opinion that as of 28 December 2013 the majority of people in France would clearly have understood that; would clearly have associated the quenelle with Dieudonné; and with the controversy prevailing at that time. Given the nature of that controversy and of Dieudonné’s anti-Semitic views we were satisfied to the appropriate standard that the quenelle is and was at that time strongly associated with anti-Semitism. As the FA submitted (and we agreed) it simply is not possible to divorce that association from the gesture and when NA performed the quenelle on the 28th December 2013.

These sections are obviously contradictory. If the Commission accepted that most people in France were aware of the connection between the Quenelle, Dieudonné, antisemitism and the ongoing controversy in France, then presumably that should be even more the case for Anelka, who is a friend of Dieudonné, had attended one of his shows 11 months previously and who has watched recordings of other shows. Anelka’s claim of ignorance is implausible and, more importantly, is incompatible with the finding of the Commission. Consequently, the Commission’s decision that “on the evidence before us we were not satisfied (to the requisite standard) that NA was or is an anti-Semite or that he intended to express or promote anti-Semitism by his use of the quenelle”, is difficult to understand.

In this respect, then, the FA has been let down by its independent Commission. However, to a certain extent this highlights a flaw in the FA’s own rules: the lack of specific criteria by which the mandatory 5 match ban should be increased. Rather than having a specific check list of “aggravating factors”, it is left to the Commission to decide what these should be, relying on precedent and its own reasoning.

For example, the Commission decided that the fact “the gesture was not made to any person in particular” was a mitigating factor, which made this offence less serious than that of Luis Suarez, who directly racially abused another player. However, in our view the fact that Anelka intended to make a public statement, viewable by millions of people, makes his offence more, not less, serious than a private comment made to another player.

Furthermore, the Commission noted that in the FA’s own rules, it only states that the Commission “may” increase the ban if “aggravating factors” are present – not that they “shall” or “must” do so. Therefore the rules are balanced away from any increase. A strengthening of this wording and the specific listing of “aggravating factors” would surely help.

Lastly, while the FA should be commended for its efforts in this case within the existing rules, there is the question of whether a mandatory 5 match ban is ever sufficient for a case involving racist abuse. Last year UEFA (pdf), European football’s governing body, increased the minimum suspension for racist abuse by players to 10 matches and also introduced partial and whole stadium closures as punishments for clubs if their fans commit racist offences. This was used this week when UEFA banned a Belgian futsal player for 10 matches for making a Quenelle gesture. A mandatory 10 match ban is now the new standard for tackling racist abuse in European football and we would encourage the FA to strengthen its own powers accordingly.

« Previous Entries