Nicolas Anelka defends the quenelle gesture that resulted in West Brom sacking him for gross misconduct in a bizarre interview with French newspaper Metro News in which he claimed that “the people who decide that the quenelle is racist will soon ban us from eating pineapples”.
The French striker was banned for five games and fined £80k by the FA after performing the controversial gesture, which is interpreted by many as anti-Semitic, for a goal celebration against West Ham in December last year.
Speaking out about the issue for the first time since his dismissal, as reported by Soccerway, Anelka defends his quenelle gesture:
My quenelle was very misunderstood.
I have no record of racism or anti-Semitism, there is no evidence to support it, not even a shred of evidence.
I have never had a problem with the Jewish community, and besides why would I have? There are so many questions and no answers.
At some point we must stop being paranoid and believing that we are all at war.
The people who wrote the headlines do not know my life.
Because some people have performed [the quenelle] in front of a synagogue, then the gesture is suddenly meant to be racist and anti-Semitic in any place and in any situation.
Sorry, I’m not swallowing that. I’ve tried to swallow it but it won’t go down.
So if I understand correctly, all priests are paedophiles and all Muslims are terrorists? For me, it’s the same principle.
If this continues, the people who decide that the quenelle is racist will soon ban us from eating pineapples!
It is a vulgar gesture, I grant you. There was never any religious intent on my part… I am neither racist nor anti-Semitic and this quenelle was a simple dedication.