Nicolas Anelka in hot water for anti-Semitic goal celebration | inside World Soccer

West Bromwich Albion striker Nicolas Anelka has been heavily criticised after giving what could be interpreted as an anti-semitic gesture while celebrating a goal.

Nicolas Anelka touches his sleeve as he celebrates scoring West Brom's first goal against West Ham
Nicolas Anelka touches his sleeve as he celebrates scoring West Brom's first goal against West Ham

Photo: AFP

After scoring the first of his two goals in a 3-3 draw at West Ham on Saturday, Anelka performed a salute used by French comedian Dieudonné M'bala M'bala that is widely known as La Quenelle.

It involves pointing one straightened arm downward while touching that arm's shoulder with the opposite hand, and is seen by many as a Nazi salute in reverse.

The Frenchman tried to defend himself on Twitter, suggesting the gesture was a dedication to Dieudonné, a personal friend.

La Quenelle is the subject of a fierce national debate in France that has reached the French interior ministry and stands accused of sparking a spate of attacks across Anelka's homeland.

Richard Ferrer, of the Jewish News, told Sky Sports News: "Prior to this blowing up this afternoon it wasn't something I was familiar with.

"But after doing a little bit of research, La Quenelle - as it is known in France - is a reverse Nazi salute. The arm is upright and saluted in the infamous Nazi gesture. But this, as you saw, is arm down, with the other arm touching the shoulder.

"This is either a lack of awareness on Anelka's part, or something more sinister. He must be aware of La Quenelle's meaning and the baggage it carries.

"Surely he was making a statement? It's a major concern for the Football Association."

Jewish groups have complained to French President François Hollande about Dieudonné's trademark gesture, which they have linked to anti-Semitic incidents in France.

European Jewish Congress President Dr Moshe Kantor said: "It's sickening that such a well-known footballer would make such an abusive and hateful gesture in front of tens of thousands of spectators.

"This salute is merely a lesser-known Nazi salute and we expect the same kind of punishment to be handed down by the authorities as if Anelka had made the infamous outstretched arm salute.

"This salute was created by a well-known extreme anti-Semite who has displayed his hatred of Jews, mocked the Holocaust and Jewish suffering."

The Football Association have confirmed they will be investigating the incident.


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