Soccer Star Anelka Draws President Obama, Jay-Z and Beyoncé Into ‘Reverse Nazi Salute’ Controversy

December 28, 2013 10:55 pm 3 comments

The picture featuring President Obama posted by soccer star Nicolas Anelka.

French Muslim soccer star, Nicolas Anelka, has drawn President Obama, rapper Jay-Z and singer Beyoncé into a controversy surrounding his use on Saturday of a gesture that is widely considered to be anti-Semitic, and has been described as “the Nazi salute in reverse.”

Under heavy criticism for publicly using the gesture, after scoring a goal for British soccer club West Bromwich, the athlete tweeted a picture of Obama and the pop culture icons motioning in a way that may appear to be similar. However, a 2012 report from the time that the picture was taken said that the group was “brushing imaginary dirt off their shoulder” in “an obvious reference to the Jay-Z hit song” entitled “Dirt off Your Shoulder.”

The White House did not immediately respond to The Algemeiner’s request for comment on the picture.

The gesture, known as the “quenelle” was created by French anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné, and has been used by his followers in front of Nazi concentration camps, synagogues and even when standing beside unsuspecting Jews.

“It’s the Nazi salute in reverse,” Roger Cukierman, head of the CRIF umbrella group of Jewish organizations, said recently. “Very clearly, Mr Dieudonné is developing a nearly professional anti-Semitism under the cover of telling jokes.”

On Friday French Interior Minister Manuel Valls criticized the comedian and said that his ministry was looking for legal ways to ban his shows.

“Dieudonné M’bala M’bala doesn’t seem to recognize any limits any more,” Valls said. “From one comment to the next, as he has shown in several television shows, he attacks the memory of Holocaust victims in an obvious and unbearable way.”

Dieudonne’s film, “The Anti-Semite,” was banned from the Cannes Film Festival last year. He has openly supported former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s offensive views on Israel and the Jewish people, and has described Holocaust remembrance as “memorial pornography”.

After his use of the “quenelle,” Anelka, who is friendly with Dieudonné said that his decision to use the hateful gesture was a tribute to his friend.

“This gesture was just a special dedication to my comedian friend Dieudonné,” Anelka tweeted.

The move was sharply criticized by French leaders.

France’s Minister for Sport, Valerie Fourneyron, tweeted that, “Anelka’s gesture is a shocking and disgusting provocation. Anti-semitism or incitement to hatred has no place on the football field.”

A spokesperson for Britain’s Football Association said that the FA would investigate the incident. But Jeremy Newmark, a former Jewish communal executive said that the FA’s decision was insufficient. “The @fa investigation into Nicholas Anelka smacks of an excuse for inaction. Racism requires a swift & firm response,” he wrote on Twitter.

The caretaker manager for Anelka’s soccer club, Keith Downing, quickly came to the star’s defense. He said that Anelka was “totally surprised” by the outcry. “It has got nothing to do with what is being said,” Downing said. “It is absolute rubbish.”

Earlier this month an anonymous “anti-Fascist and pro-Israel” hacker exposed the email addresses and identities of thousands of Dieudonné’s supporters.

3 Comments

  • Here are a few (balanced) explanations from France:
    This gesture is an alternative, funny and viral way of saying ‘fuck off’ to the whole system. Nothing anti-semitic here. Those who claimed first, that it carried anti-semitic meanings, are the equivalent of US Aipac, called Licra in France. They dare saying it is ‘a reverse nazi gesture, meaning sodomization of the vicitims of the Shoah’. And all of a sudden, all mass medias and French ministers, echo the Licra’s voice day after day. As if they were the soviet thought police, telling you what you are allowed to think, what not. Manuel Valls, head of the Department of the Interior, has one goal: prevent Dieudonné from doing his work of a humorist. Not by a law, that would be illegal. Simply by phoning the local authorities to pressure them. This is his official plan, exposed in our Assemblée Nationale. Who’s being fascist RIGHT NOW?

    No one tries to deeply analyse the roots of Dieudonné’s political anger. Yes he does criticises zionism and Israel, all forms of racisms, wars, exploitations, violences, censorships, attacks against freedom of speech, imperialisms, etc. Does he deserve to be almost treated as a nazi? No sane soul would say that.

    To be fair, let’s observe one logical fact: the vast majority anti-zionists are not anti-semitic, they know what happened during WWII and refuse to let History repeat itself like that. So do I, for the memory of my great parents, resistants without guns, who hid jews during those dark times.
    So all anti-semitic are (or should be) anti-zionists. Thus, there is the possibility for those anti-semitic to be supporting Dieudonné. But I guess this what you call a colateral damage. This is the kind of people you don’t like, but once in a while, you agree on one thing. I guess if Hitler had said the sky was blue, I’d have agreed with him, like anyone else on Earth, *on this very fact*.

    Dieudonné, as a mixed-race man (French white mother, Cameroonian black father), has been insulted so many times in the medias: ‘sick brain’, ‘he’s just a nigger’, etc. And those *zionists* (coincidence?) insulting him have NEVER been prosecuted and will never be. No, they parade each day in our official mass medias, washing people’s brains. And our government applauses. This is not a democracy anymore.

    Let’s keep cool and enjoy his huge talent as an humorist. By the way, he’s the last one having fame and glory on Youtube and especially in real life, but his name is mysteriously missing from the ‘favourite humorists choosen by the public’ charts.

    Those in this chart are all zero-critical or limited-critical of our system. You start to love coincidences too, don’t you?

    He spends a certain amount of time with political polemists, often accused of being anti-semitic as well (or ‘fascist’ or ‘conspirationists’, these labels are easy to stick on somebody’s back but appear almost imposible to throw away, even after proven wrong).

    If you feel curious, I would suggest François Asselineau, Alain Soral or the great Etienne Chouard. Feel free to youtube them, and you’ll see by yourself. The latter has some videos with English subtitles.
    The problem is: non-zionists jews (YES! JEWS!) support Dieudonné and his ‘dangerous’ political friends. But that, you would never hear a single world about it. Coinci… quoi ?

    VIVE LA QUENELLE !

  • BH in Iowa, I do not think Obama was doing the “quenelle” which has gained popularity this year 2013 and was unknown in America in 2012. If the picture were recent I would agree with you but this is an anachronism.

  • Honestly, at this point does anyone really think Obama didn’t know exactly what he was doing?

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Sports Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    Israeli Soccer Team Faces Prospect of International Ban

    The Israel National soccer team could be facing a World Cup ban, and other soccer sanctions, unless it alleviates travel restrictions and increases field access for Palestinian players and coaches. The head of the Palestinian Football Association is pushing for international soccer’s governing body, the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA), to issue a ban on Israel competing internationally, claiming Israel’s restrictive travel for Palestinians is equivalent to a form of oppression. “It’s not only the athletes,” Jibril Rajoub explains. [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    Jewish Author of ‘Eat to Live’ Dishes on Health Care, Nutrition, Disease Prevention

    JNS.org – While the national debate on “Obamacare” rages on past the recent March 31 sign-up deadline, bestselling Jewish author Dr. Joel Fuhrman says the “current disease care model of what we call ‘health care’ cannot possibly be sustained.” “There is simply not enough money available to support a system in which the lion’s share of expenditures is devoted to acute care, with virtually nothing being spent on preventive medicine, i.e. health care,” Fuhrman says in an interview. “To make [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    ‘Tears of Color’ Art Exhibit Shows Struggles of Israelis With Eating Disorders

    JNS.org – “This is how I want to be—without fear. Independent. I want to be like a bird. I want to spread my wings.” So reads part of the description beneath one of the 30 paintings on display until the end of May at the ZOA House in Tel Aviv. The collection represents the first-ever art exhibit of its kind: an exhibit created entirely by Israelis in treatment for eating disorders. Dubbed “Tears of Color,” based on one of the [...]

    Read more →
  • Beliefs and concepts Book Reviews Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    Overprotective or Loving? Daughters Reflect on Jewish Mothers in New Anthology

    JNS.org – Rachel Ament noticed that she and her friends often shared humorous anecdotes that were typically variations on a theme: overprotective, worrying Jewish moms who smothered them with love. That included Ament’s own mother. “My mom is probably every Jewish stereotype scrunched into one,” the Washington, DC, resident tells JNS.org. “At the root of all these stereotypical, worrying, overprotective moms, is love.” A social media writer for Capital One, as well as a freelance writer, Ament decided about three years [...]

    Read more →
  • Book Reviews Commentary ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    ‎Kosher Lust: Love is Not the Answer (REVIEW)

    Kosher Lust, by Shmuley Boteach (Gefen Publishing House, 2014). You really do want to find something positive to say about Shmuley Boteach. He is a phenomenon; very bright, an articulate bundle of energy and self-promotion. Anyone who has the chutzpah to describe himself as “America’s Rabbi” deserves ten out of ten for effort. I believe that along with most Chabad alumni, official and unofficial, he does a lot of good and is a sort of national treasure. In this world [...]

    Read more →
  • Jewish Identity Theater Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    Hollywood’s Revisiting of Passover’s Exodus Story a Part of Throwback ‘Year of the Bible’

    JNS.org – In a throwback to the golden age of cinema, Hollywood has declared 2014 the “Year of the Bible.” From Ridley Scott’s Exodus starring Christian Bale as Moses, to Russell Crowe playing Noah, Hollywood is gambling on new innovations in technology and star power to revisit some of the most popular stories ever told. “It’s definitely a throwback to the 1950s and early ’60s,” Dr. Stephen J. Whitfield, an American Studies professor at Brandeis University, told JNS.org. Starting with The [...]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture US & Canada ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    ‘Jewish Giant’ Headlines New York Jewish Museum Exhibit

    Eddie Carmel, dubbed “The Jewish Giant” by American photographer Diane Arbus, is the centerpiece of a new exhibit opening April 11 at The Jewish Museum in New York. Arbus met Carmel, who was billed “The World’s Tallest Man,” at Hubert’s Dime Museum and Flea Circus in 1959 but waited until 1970 to photograph him at his parents’ home in the Bronx, according to the museum. The son of immigrants from Tel Aviv, Carmel posed for Arbus with his head bowed to [...]

    Read more →
  • Music US & Canada Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    Disney Hit ‘Frozen’ Gets Passover Themed Makeover With ‘Chozen’ (VIDEO)

    A Passover themed cover of hit songs Let It Go and Do You Want to Build a Snowman? from Disney’s Frozen has attracted tons of media buzz and a cool 65,ooo views on YouTube within days of going online. The work of Jewish a capella group Six13, the track is aptly named Chozen. We are celebrating “our freedom, our favorite festival, our fabulous fans, and aspiring Disney princesses everywhere” the group said. The Chozen music video tells the story of [...]

    Read more →



Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.