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November 21, 2014 3:27 pm

Soccer Club Owner Excuses Anti-Semitic Remarks With ‘Some of my Best Friends Are Jews’ Line

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Wigan Athletic owner Dave Whelan: "Some of my best friends are Jews." Photo: Twitter

The owner of a prominent English soccer club has been forced to apologize after being widely condemned for disparaging and racist remarks about Jewish and Chinese people.

Dave Whelan, the owner of Wigan Athletic, made the comments in the context of his controversial decision to appoint a coach with his own record of racist comments, Malky Mackay, as the team’s manager.

The Jewish Chronicle reports:

Dave Whelan said that Jews “chase money more than everybody else”, adding: “Jewish people love money”.

Mr Whelan also said that there was “nothing bad” about calling a person of Chinese origin a “chink”.

“It is like calling the British Brits, or the Irish paddies”.

He made the remarks in a newspaper interview in which he defended the club’s appointment of Malky Mackay as its manager.

Mr Mackay is currently being investigated by the Football Association for alleged antisemitism and racism in a series of texts sent earlier this year while he was manager of Cardiff City.

In them, a reference to Jewish football agent Phil Smith was followed by the comment: “Nothing like a Jew that sees money slipping through his fingers.”

Another text described Cardiff City owner, the Malaysian Vincent Tan, as a chink.

Mr Whelan said he did not think there was “a lot wrong” with what Mr Mackay is alleged to have said, and that he believed Mackay was only reflecting that Jewish people “love money” like everybody does. “It’s telling the truth. The Jews don’t like losing money. Nobody likes losing money,” he said.

His comments were condemned by Simon Johnson, a former FA head who is the chief executive at the Jewish Leadership Council.

“Unfortunately Mr Mackay and now Mr Whelan have referred to some of the worst old-fashioned tropes which have been used in the past as the basis of antisemitism and stereotyping of Jewish people,” he said.

In a tweet, he called on Mr Whelan to ” withdraw and apologize for his use of disgraceful antisemitic language.”

Kick It Out, the football anti-racism body, said the comments had called into question whether the 77-year-old multt-millionaire was a fit and proper person to be running a football club and called on the FA to take action against him.

In later interview with broadcaster Sky News, Whelan deepened the insult by saying, “I would never insult a Jewish person. I have got hundreds and hundreds of Jewish friends. I’ve got loads of Chinese friends and I would never, ever insult the Chinese.” Added Whelan: “All I was trying to say was that Jewish people are very similar to the English people in the desire to work hard and get money.”

Mark Gardner, Communications Director of the Community Security Trust (CST) which deals with security for the UK Jewish community, observed on the organization’s blog that Whelan’s “quick apology  appears sincere, but reinforces his claim not to understand the offense: because even here, his reference to Jews as ‘a great race of people’ will still leave many people feeling that he simply doesn’t get how to talk about these issues in the modern day.”

Gardner added:

The association of Jews with money is a very old antisemitic trope, which is exactly why Whelan’s blunt old-fashioned remarks caused the controversy: but the same thing, delivered in a much more sophisticated manner, underpins far more insidious and dangerous discourse that alleges Jewish and/or pro-Israeli lobbies control politicians, the media, global capitalism and much else, besides. It is those deeper comments, made in Parliament and elsewhere, that also need called out at every turn, and booted into touch.

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  • sidney sands

    I would hope that many of Mr Whelan’s Jewish friends , now realize what he really thinks about them, of course Mr Whelan does not like his millions, and never as he puts it ” chase money” his mouth is as big as his ego, with his foot in it.

    • Sadly, Mr. Whelan’s Jewish friends are likely to react just like American Jews who have supported Barack Obama, a known anti-Semite who has recognized Hamas as a legitimate government and sent them Millions of American dollars to aid them in continuing to build terror tunnels and missiles to bomb Jews do. Nu? So what?

      This disgusting attitude of Liberal Jews will continue until they wake up and realize that those who pretend to be their friends, aren’t.

  • It is a sad an outrageous comment on contemporary life, globally, that not much has been learned, after a Holocaust, and endless contributions to society, by Jewish talent.
    In science, art, music, literature.

    This Mr. Whelan and the man he has chosen as a’leader’ are not well educated, as one can tell by his choice of words.

    He is in a position to improve relations around the world, not contribute to hate, and revive old hateful tales.

    When will he, the world ever learn, to stop tearing down, and start building up. Peoples, old myths, He is a Rich man. Use that wealth wisely. And how did HE ‘make’ it

  • what?

    This article is totally inaccurate

    Wigan Athletic is not a prominent English soccer club!

    It was However wonderful to see him squirming in his correction/apology interview. It was very surprising to see that it was aired by the BBC when so many of this websites readers claim it to be an Antisemitic organisation. Surly if it really held those views it wouldn’t have aired it!

    • The fact that you’re name is “what?” just goes to show that you aren’t committed to your comments, so make them without thought. That is sad.

      Whether or not Wigan Athletic is prominent or not isn’t the issue. That they have a racist in a position of authority is.

      Wake up. And if you really have something to say, post it under your real name, not a silly pseudonym hiding your identity, like “what?”.

      As a result of your desire to hide, your post lacks any credibility.