One unhappy neutral ...
He made no bones about which team out of Leicester and The Chelski he wanted to win: “Come on NotChelsea!” And when a late Chelsea equaliser was chalked off after another of those Video Assistant Referee interventions, he was even happier: “VAR all is forgiven!!!” Moreover, “Leicester - a proper club, properly run - show that the issue isn't the nationality of owners. It's the character of the owners”. Yes, he was now a Foxes fan.
... and an even more unhappy one
In fact, the occasion was rather getting to him. “It feels like the FA Cup when I was a boy. Magic”. And then it happened: as the Leicester Mercury has reported, “Leicester City players Hamza Choudhury and Wesley Fofana showed their support for Palestine on the Wembley pitch after winning the FA Cup”. How did they do that?
“The pair were seen on the pitch holding the Palestinian flag”. The report added “A week of escalating violence is the worst seen between Palestine and Israel since 2014 … Former Foxes winger Riyad Mahrez has tweeted his support for Palestine in the last few days, as has Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny”. Pollard was no longer a happy bunny.
He took one look at the image of Choudhury and Fofana holding the Palestinian flag and fumed “The FA needs to act immediately to discipline them”. Wasn’t it just freedom of speech, asked Rupert Myers. “There are specific rules against players making protests or conveying messages” thundered Pollard. And there was more grumbling elsewhere.
Sadly, that grumbling emanated from Nick Timothy, arguably the World’s Worst Political Strategist: “Football has got itself into such a mess. Time to go back to the old-fashioned rule of keeping politics out of the game”. The old anti-BLM argument once more. Say goodbye to Poppy Day, then. Perhaps he told alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson to butt out over politicising the European Super League. Or maybe not.
Miqdaad Versi of the Muslim Council of Britain was not surprised, although I suspect Pollard will not take kindly to his comments. “Stephen Pollard (editor of the Jewish Chronicle) seems to care about 2 Muslims holding up a Palestinian flag but not others similarly holding up a Nigerian flag … Let's not pretend his claimed excuse has any validity. This is about trying to erase Palestine from the public consciousness”.
That the editor of the JC - who is also an unswerving supporter of the state of Israel and its actions - is so sensitive about seeing support for the Palestinians, while the IDF continues to level buildings in Gaza and the death toll in the latest escalation of aggression inexorably mounts, is most telling. Israel is losing the battle for hearts and minds.
Worse, Pollard or anyone else calling “anti-Semitism” on those who oppose Israel will not improve matters. Or has he forgotten what the IHRA definition says about that?
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