Shalom Life | July 01, 2014

Athletes in Hot Water over Nazi Salute

A day after French soccer player Nicolas Anelka celebrated his goal with the ‘quenelle’ (the dumpling), a reverse Nazi salute, the Simon Weisenthal Centre calls out NBA star Tony Parker for his use of the gesture

By: Daniel Koren

Published: December 30th, 2013 in News » World

This is beginning to get out of hand.

Two weeks ago, we published a story on a disturbing new trend sweeping across Europe, particularly in France, where it was originated by a well-known comedian Dieudonne M’bala M’bala. Dieudonne seems to harbour an obvious anti-Semitic agenda as the inventor of the ‘quenelle’ (the dumpling), a reverse Nazi salute.

The trend involves followers of Dieudonne posing for pictures while making the salute in very offensive locales, including synagogues, with religious people, and even an IDF soldier.

But now it appears that it’s not just civilians who enjoy Dieudonne’s often criticized brand of offensive humour – he’s dubbed the Holocaust as ‘memorial pornography’and has been convicted six times in France for alleged anti-Semitic remarks. (Note, Dieudonne has on several times insisted he is not anti-Semitic, but merely anti-establishment).

Recently, athletes have been joining him on his quest to turn heads; days ago, West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka celebrated his first goal against West Ham with the quenelle, with the incident, naturally, erupting into a full scandal.

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Anelka later tweeted: “This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné.” He is now the subject of a Football Association investigation.

“Anelka’s gesture is a shocking provocation, disgusting. There’s no place for anti-Semitism on the football field,” said Valerie Fourneyron, a French sports minister.

“Anti-Semitism and incitement to hatred have no place on a football field,” she added.

To establish camaraderie with a man as embroiled in negative press as Dieudonne seems a pretty obvious decision to avoid, but the Paris-born Anelka, who converted to Islam in 2004 and has posed in pictures with the far-right comedian while both making the symbol, obviously didn’t seem perturbed.

Nor was one Tony Parker, a French NBA star for the San Antonio Spurs, who has taken pictures with Dieudonné while making the salute. Now, on the heels of the Anelka scandal, the Jewish human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) has called on him to apologize for making a gesture that is known to be anti-Semitic.

Parker is also, like Anelka, a friend of Dieduonne’s.


(Dieudonne with Parker)

“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,” said Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the SWC, during in an interview with The Algemeiner.

He added that Parker’s actions were part of a ‘mainstreaming’ of ‘anti-Semitic hate’.

Parker has yet to respond to the SWC’s request.

Anelka may be punished in France if his actions are deemed offensive; meanwhile, the French government is looking to possibly ban all performances by Dieudonné – his most recent show is called ‘The Anti-Semite’ – as he regularly jokes about the Holocaust, and inspires hatred and anti-Semitic behavior from his audiences.

Defiant: A group performs the 'quenelle' salutes in front of the theatre Dieudonne's performing at

(Group performing the quenelle in front of a concert theatre Diedonne was performing at)

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