MK Shimon Ohayon (Likud-Beytenu), who heads the Knesset Caucus for Battling Anti-Semitism, wants Nicolas Anelka, a French soccer star in England's Premier League, punished for publicly making an anti-Semitic gesture based on the Nazi salute.
“I call on the Premier League management to place Anelka on trial and sentence him severely,” said Ohayon, who added that the “reverse Nazi salute” is, without a doubt, an anti-Semitic gesture. “This gesture has no place in the world in general, and on soccer fields in particular,” he added.
Politicians and Jewish leaders expressed outrage Saturday after Anelka made the gesture following a goal he scored in a game between his West Bromwich Albion team and West Ham United. The 34-year-old striker thrust his straightened right arm downwards while tapping his bicep with the other hand, in a gesture frequently used by Dieudonné, a French comedian friend of Anelka's who has been convicted and fined numerous times for anti-Semitic public comments.
France's sports minister, Valerie Fourneyron, called it a "shocking, sickening provocation" and said there is "no place for anti-Semitism and inciting hatred on the football pitch".
British media reported that the Football Association was investigating the incident, while the European Jewish Congress demanded English Premier League officials ban Anelka.