There is not a single regular reader of this blog – and not a casual one either based on my inbox – who doesn’t know that I have supported the club over The Green Brigade and wholeheartedly view their actions as both fair and proper.
I have said so. Repeatedly.
I predicted this end a long time before it ever came, before Palestinian flags were the alleged issue, back when it was a bit of pyro and people wanting fights with the police.
I believe that their extreme politics casts a negative light over our club. I wrote yesterday about the banner in support of the PFLP and how disgusting it was. I said much the same on the Graham Spiers podcast the other night.
I think my position is crystal clear.
But allegations that the Celtic support is antisemitic are also damaging, and perhaps even more so. Idiotic, ignorant hacks far from the centre of the action can make such claims until the cows come home and I don’t give a damn about that.
Many of them are professional haters and if they aren’t using racist language to talk about immigrants, they are finding some poor bastard in the celebrity world to pick on for not wearing a poppy.
Their opinions are of no importance or concern to me whatsoever.
But today’s newspapers are carrying reports that the Israeli national coach has branded our fans as “known to be antisemitic.”
If that quote is accurate then Celtic needs to do something it has not done in a long, long time … it has to speak in support of our fans and condemn that statement as a distortion of fact and reality. We cannot afford that view to prevail. We cannot have a national coach put that on the record and leave it there uncontested.
It’s a lie. And Celtic should call it a lie.
At a time when some of our own fans are accusing the club of acting out of spite and others in an effort to silence political expression, it would not just be a gesture of solidarity with the rest of us and a signal that we’re done being beat up on from all sides, but it would go some way towards bringing this club together again.
I find his comments as offensive and disgusting as I found those banners, and the club has rightly acted on one thing and it is incumbent upon them I think to act on the other.
The charge of antisemitism is one of the most harmful and dangerous out there. When Ian Bankier made a similar, deranged allegation some years ago this blog condemned him in the strongest terms and said he was unfit to be the chairman of Celtic.
The backlash was enormous. He went some small way towards clarifying that statement later on, but I regarded it then and now as too little too late. The charge is odious. It is entirely false.
Celtic cannot let that go. Celtic must not let that go.
That is a slander on our whole club, not just the fans … the whole club. And from a serial recidivist who has poked his nose into Celtic’s business more than once. He is either deliberately smearing Celtic or he is woefully uninformed and either should draw a robust response from the club and a defence of our supporters.
In spite of having good cause, Celtic has spent the last week kicking Celtic fans.
This is the moment I think where it needs to stand up on their behalf … and that of the club as a whole.
I would have serious questions and concerns if we didn’t.