Of Course Celtic Had To Make A Statement After This Weekend’s Green Brigade Madness.

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I’ve been a supporter of the Palestinian cause since before some members of the North Curve Political Party were alive. As someone who fights the corner of this club 24/7/365 my “Celtic credentials” are impeccable and knowing where I’ve been on the political spectrum and what I’ve done in my time I know my politics are too.

Regular readers have often lamented the political commentary on here.

I have a feeling this one will draw more fire than most, because I’m essentially agreeing with the club. They made one critical mistake in saying that politics should be left at the door; that’s a stupid statement and whoever penned that made an arse of it.

What he or she should just have openly stated is that certain types of politics should be left at the door, and I would have had no problem with that whatsoever.

There are some types of political expression which are beyond the pale and which I would never want to see anywhere near Celtic.

Sadly, for our club, there is a hardcore of our supporters who are becoming ever more extreme, ever more hateful and ever more intolerant. Not all of them are in The Green Brigade and when I talk about that section of our support it is not necessarily The Green Brigade I have in mind. But that banner was The Green Brigade.

That banner crossed the line.

I have said before that the left doesn’t have the equivalent of a Trump, that those kinds of sentiments do not take root on the left. And they don’t. That banner, whatever you might think of it, was not from the political left whatever its authors might have intended. That was not an expression of support for Palestinians either.

No, in talking about “victory to the resistance” that banner appeared to celebrate Hamas and its attack on the civilian population of Israel and something like that has no place in our support or any support anywhere.

When I say that banner has no place on the left I mean just that.

A banner which could be perceived – and it’s not much of a stretch to do it – as cheering on Israeli deaths could just as easily have been flown by a support on the far fringes of the right.

It is an extremist view.

In expressing support for the “resistance” it goes way beyond merely showing solidarity with the people of Palestine.

In fact it does the complete opposite.

If you are cheering on Hamas today – almost incomprehensible in light of some of what they are doing – you’re doing so in the full knowledge that all their actions have accomplished is to bring retribution of the most severe sort down on the heads of the very people you are rooting for.

Because it is ordinary Palestinians who will pay the most appalling price for Hamas’s attack, an attack which did not target political infrastructure, which did not target military facilities or personnel but was focussed almost entirely on the murder of civilians … and we’re still supposed to be pissed off by that, we’re still supposed to be offended by it, we’re still supposed to be outraged.

How people who mourn for the Palestinians can support the murder of Israeli civilians in furtherance of that cause … it defies belief. It’s a grotesque contradiction.

One of the things this website is most critical of the club across the city for is its embrace of, and even celebration of, militarism. We are surrounded by it. But those who would condemn the poppy as a symbol of oppression and even murder have no business whatsoever putting up a banner which even seems to be in support of an oppressive organisation such as Hamas.

No wonder our former Israeli player, Nir Bitton, is appalled.

No wonder Liel Abada has held talks with the club.

You may question the wording of Bitton’s statement as you like, but he is fully entitled to his outrage at a banner which appears to offer sympathy to an organisation murdering Israelis indiscriminately and at the time of writing holding over 100 of them hostage.

I read comments during the weekend that these guys should remember who paid, and pays, their wages.

That’s a bullshit argument and I’m having none of it.

Bitton gave us years of outstanding service. He served in the Israeli army, and was proud to have done so and not once during his time here did he ever complain about Palestinian flags. Nor has Abada. Banners supporting people killing Israeli citizens … that’s where these guys and the club are fully entitled to say that enough is enough.

That banner glorified violence, and that’s a step across the big red line.

Anybody who doesn’t realise that needs to think on it again.

There is a difference between supporting the oppressed and cheering on people being killed.

Some of the songs emanating from some sections of our support – such as those mocking dead Ibrox players and kit-men – are loathsome degenerate filth. So is The SAM Song, which is not about commemorating the Irish War of Independence but about the celebration of war itself. Which is what I frequently scorn the other lot for.

No wonder our club is increasingly sick of this stuff, and between that and people openly trying to pick fights with the police, I worry that we’re heading for a major split.

Days like today almost convince me that one is not just inevitable but might be necessary. There are certain elements within our support who need to be weeded out and I can’t put it more bluntly than that.

As I write this, the events of the weekend continue to take a terrible toll.

The number of dead in Israel has almost reached 1000, most of them civilians, over 260 of them people murdererd whilst attending a concert. There is no justification whatsoever for that.

Nor is there any justification for the Israeli defence minister openly boasting about having all of Gaza “under siege” and denied food, water, fuel or medical supplies.

That’s an area of 2.5 million people; he’s talking about a war crime and if Israel follows through, they should be condemned for it by every civilised country and those responsible should, along with Putin, stand trial in some future time and place.

But they won’t be of course, and that’s part of the problem.

Many prominent journalists and politicians, some of them Israeli’s, have said much the same thing. It’s a tragedy, all of it, and none of it should be celebrated or cheered on or glorified.

Dr King said it best.

“The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate…Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars.”

That banner at the weekend was a disgrace, coming at a time when civilians were being murdered and the whatabouttery and asking where is is the club’s condemnation of Israel won’t cut it with me one bit; our club has taken no position here and doesn’t seek to. We’re a football club and we cannot be a club “open to all” if our posiiton is that if you’re an Israeli you have no place here.

Anyone who believes that is following the wrong team.

It is a section of our support, all on its own, which has chosen to take a side … and not a good one at that. Neither side in this conflict has clean hands, but Hamas just wants to kill Israelis and we can’t, as a club, be seen to support that either in statements or in silence. It’s a grotesque position to put those running Celtic in and I knew they would respond to it, I knew how they would respond to it, and I knew that I would support them when they did and I do so now without equivocation.

That banner did not simply support Palestinians, which no right thinking person would ever condemn.

It supported violence. It glorified war.

I’m not even going to pretend to be okay with that.

Some people have told me that The Green Brigade intended that banner to be at Parkhead at the weekend before they were aware of the Hamas attacks. I was aware of them at the game, and I’m pretty sure that others were. The very act of putting them up at that point crossed the very same line I’m talking about, and it doesn’t change a word that I’ve written. This is something that should never damned well have happened.

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  • Johnpaulbruen says:

    Well done bud , but we need a lot more of it . If I was Abada I would b off and that is shameful for our club

  • Thomas M Daley says:

    Targeting civilians, murdering men, women and children in cold blood is scary since it gains nothing for you, rather works against you. Just like a deathwish

  • Craig says:

    Thank you?

  • Dave says:

    Check out Raja Casablanca (Morocco) sing for Palestine.

  • Stephen says:

    As a Rangers fan I can’t say I have ever frequented this page, I saw on sky sports that Celtic had released a statement regarding Palestine and especially given the horrific events that have taken place I was keen to understand more. Having read this article, I think we should thank the author, there needs to be more articles written like this. There are morons on both halves of the old firm divide who could do with reading more unbaised well articulated articles like this. I agree that the extremist views of sections of the old firm are the minority, but these minorities are getting worryingly loud, articles like this are rare positives.

  • F. Breslin says:

    The banner was a disgrace, that’s it no excuses or obtuse ignorance dressed up as righteous indignation, just a disgrace.

  • Mo says:

    Good article and completely agree.
    I’m completely sick of this mob embarrassing our club and costing us fines but this is a new low and they need weeding out. Enough!

  • Donnybhoy says:

    Very often I disagree with James Forrest, but in this he is correct.

    The self-styled Green Brigade who presume arrogantly to speak for the rest of us are naive dog-whistlers.

    The club should close that section until there is an undertaking that what emanates from there is appropriate for a football stadium.

  • EG says:

    100% Agree with every word! What absolute idiots. I am sick of their petty “political” protests, something different every week! They think they are the life and soul of the football club but they are nothing but a bunch of neds. I come to see Celtic to enjoy a football game, my few hours of escapism every couple of weeks, I am not there for a political rally or to be lectured to by them. The club needs to get them out, plenty of other folk would gladly take their seats and the away tickets they manage to hog.

  • RoisinD says:

    Well said. Could not agree more with you on this. It is excruciating that anyone could glorify the atrocities undertaken by militants last weekend.

    The Palestinian people.are not Hamas. The unspeakable actions Hamas perpetrated will and are having untold repercussions for the people in Gaza.

    The Green brigade do not speak in my name. Their actions humiliates our club.I also back the club on this one.

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