Much has already been written on the Anelka incident which has led many within Jewish communities and others to condemn the actions of the footballer. The association with Diedonne and the quenelle gesture throws up a range of issues, namely his link to the inverted Nazi salute and the creation of a gesture associated with someone convicted of stirring up racial hatred in France. Faith Matters, the organisation that devised and implemented the TELL MAMA project has listened first hand to the fears of some Jews in France and these strong feelings and perceptions within the community. Whilst we know that France is still one of the safest countries in the world, the murder of Jews in Toulouse has shaken the foundations of the community.
Undertaking work in projects like TELL MAMA means being able to assess whether a comment, text or the actions of someone promotes anti-Muslim hate. This also involves looking at the background of the individual and whether the symbolism they promote has roots in anti-Muslim hate. This will also be the case for anti-Semitism and depending on resources, researching the context of individuals or groups is key to deeper analysis. Given that the context of each case is unique, the Anelka case shows how something that seems innocent, can and does have deeper and more sinister meanings. In the case of Anelka, it has anti-Semitic overtones given the person who constructed and put together the symbolism.This is why we stand together with our Jewish brothers and sisters in their outrage against the quenelle. It is a hate gesture that cannot and must not be allowed to permeate our society given the fear that it generates within Jewish communities. If the situation was reversed, we would expect no more and no less than our fellow Jewish brothers and sisters expect; that symbols of intolerance have no place or platform in the public sphere.