Jewish Journal

This week in power: Anelka gesture and Israel in the new year

by Danny Groner

January 1, 2014 | 7:34 pm

A roundup of the most talked about political and global stories in the Jewish world this week:

Anti-Semitism on the pitch?
A joke gone too far has upset Jewish groups around the world after French soccer star Nicolas Anelka made a stiff-armed salute following a goal that many have deemed has anti-Semitic connotations. Anelka apologized, saying that he got the gesture from a stand-up comic but Anelka was "unaware that the meaning of the gesture, called a quenelle, is a source of heated debate in France," reported The New York Times. (If you're looking to learn more about the history of this gesture, here's a good overview.)

"In a way, Anelka's celebration has been a good thing. The code is broken. Those performing the quenelle without being aware of the connotations are now familiar with what it means and will (hopefully) stop using it. Those witnessing bigotry in action will be able to recognise it and act accordingly," said Graham MacAree at SB Nation. "Today my grandfather would hope, as we all do, that football's simple pleasures can continue to be enjoyed but without antisemitism, racism and homophobia. Anelka and his fellow players must do all they can to ensure that positive stories, and not ones like these, dominate the back pages," wrote Charlie Eccleshare at The Guardian.

Israel in 2014
As we welcome in a new year, what should we expect for Israel? Looking back, 2013 was "a year that began with attempts by Obama and Netanyahu to make shalom with a presidential visit to Israel began to deteriorate as the new secretary of state pushed to restart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, and the United States and the major powers opened nuclear negotiations with a newly-elected Iranian government," said Douglas Bloomfield at The Jerusalem Post. "Right now, the talks are deadlocked. We urgently need to find another way to show tangible progress on the Israeli-Palestinian track through other means, while paving the way for a two-state solution in the future," wrote Ami Ayalon in The New York Times.

"President Obama understands the connection between the Palestinian and Iranian issues...If Mr. Netanyahu keeps refusing to recognize that linking the two is the only way to deal with both, Israelis should vote him out of office in favor of somebody who sees the Middle East, and Israel’s opportunities, for what they are," Ayalon concluded.

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Danny Groner is a contributing writer to the Jewish Journal. He has worked in journalism since he was a teenager, starting off as an intern for a local publication. During his...

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