For more than a year, English footballers took the knee in solidarity with a petty criminal who was murdered by a cop in Minneapolis, says Brendan O’Neill in the Spectator. “Yet after the racist slaughter of more than a thousand Israelis, the worst act of anti-Semitic violence since the Holocaust, England’s Football Association can’t even be bothered to light up the Wembley arch in Israel’s colours.” He continues:
It is reported that the FA is “unlikely” to light the arch with the Israeli flag. It is worried about being seen to “take sides”. It also fears “a backlash from some communities”. So it’s taking the knee again. This time to the feelings of certain members of minority groups who hate Israel. Apparently their emotions, their bigoted sensitivities, their right never to see the Star of David, matter more than the memory of a thousand massacred Jews.
This is surely one of the most snivelling, cowardly decisions a public body has ever made. To elevate your own fears – in this case the fear of irritating Israelophobes – over making a show of solidarity with a nation whose men, women and children have just been butchered by a virulently racist terror group is unconscionably spineless.
The BBC reports that FA officials who attended the meeting at which this yellow-bellied decision was taken expressed concerns that “lighting the arch could be divisive”. Oh grow a backbone. Get a moral compass. So what if you get irate emails from Hamas fanboys? The citizens of an ally of ours have just been slain in the most gruesome fashion imaginable and you should put their flag up.
What makes this chicken decision even more galling is that usually the FA loves signalling its virtue. Modern football is awash with moral gestures. There was all that knee-taking. The Ukraine flag was emblazoned on the Wembley arch following Russia’s invasion. Footballers wear Pride-coloured laces, go on about ‘kicking racism out of football’, etc. etc.
Yet when it comes to the mass murder of Israelis, football’s bigwigs erm and ahh.
Worth reading in full.
Stop Press: Lord Mann, the Government’s adviser on antisemitism who has been in talks with the FA all week, has publicly accused the FA of sending a message that “Jews do not count” and letting down England’s Jewish community by refusing to light up the Wembley arch in recognition of the Hamas terror attack. He branded it “a failure of leadership”, the Telegraph reports.