NBA's Tony Parker Told: Apologize for 'Nazi' Salute
The Simon Wiesenthal Center is calling on NBA star Tony Parker to apologize for his past use of the “quenelle” gesture that is widely considered to be anti-Semitic and similar to a Nazi salute.
French media reports earlier this year showed a picture of the San Antonio Spurs player backstage at a French theater making the gesture alongside its creator, anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonné, The Algemeiner reports.
“It’s the Nazi salute in reverse,” Roger Cukierman, the leader of an umbrella group of French Jewish organizations, told Reuters.
In addition, a video shows Parker making the gesture during a French TV interview.
Rabbi Abraham Cooper, Associate Dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said Sunday that Parker should apologize.
“As a leading sports figure on both sides of the Atlantic, Parker has a special moral obligation to disassociate himself from a gesture that the government of France has identified as anti-Semitic,” Cooper said, according to The Algemeiner. “It's disgusting and dangerous and he needs to apologize.”
The call came a day after French soccer player Nicolas Anelka came under criticism for his use of the gesture after scoring a goal for English Premier League soccer club West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
According to AFP, on Sunday Anelka issued a series of tweets rejecting claims that the gesture he made was anti-Semitic.
His response came amid growing outrage online and internationally, and a risk that he could face match suspensions if England's Football Association finds his act racially offensive.
Anelka argued in his tweets that the gesture was merely "anti-establishment".