The Evening Times Puts The Liel Abada Celtic Situation In Its Proper Context.

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I want to offer my heartfelt thanks, and congratulations, to Graeme McGarry of The Evening Times, who has written what seems, to me, to be a follow-up piece on McGowan’s garbage of the other day, the one about Liel Abada.

McGarry did what McGowan was too arrogant to actually do; he spoke to an Israeli journalist who actually understands this stuff and asked him for his view on the whole situation with our player and how Celtic is viewed.

Now I don’t know if McGarry went there expecting a negative slant, but he didn’t get one and he didn’t attempt to manufacture one. Give the guy his due. He played this straight, and genuinely wanted to get to the facts and the truth and having done it he has published what he was told without putting any kind of spin on it. He has not sensationalised this in any way, and that’s why I am commending his article.

McGarry spoke to a journalist over there called Uri Levy, who the article describes as one of the few Israelis to cover their game and Palestinian football. As such, he has experienced this war from both sides. In short, he’s a moderate, and thus a good guide to how sensible, reasonable people see this issue over there. He is obviously an excellent choice.

And although he has said that Israeli’s expressed grave reservations over The Green Brigade 7 October banner, and the flying of a PFLP flag, he recognises the anger of other supporters towards those things and the statements and actions of the club, apparently in response to them. That, he says, has a made a difference to observers over there; they know this was a tiny minority and is not representative of Celtic as a whole.

In fact, Levy actually proposed an interesting reason why Celtic are a lot more respected in Israel than a lot of people seem to think, and remember, he lives and works there and so he knows that there’s a lot more to this than the likes of McGowan think.

“People have certain opinions about us as Israelis, but we identify with the underdog point of view, and we really connect with this idea,” he said. “We tend to feel that all the world is against us, and that is very similar in a way to what Celtic fans represent in a certain way within the UK.”

He doesn’t believe that Abada will be rushing for the exit door. Indeed, he talked about those very things that I did yesterday; courage and mental strength. Abada, he says, has both. He also says that Israelis will consider two things when looking at Abada’s time at Celtic; does he seem mentally and spiritually content, and is the club good for his career?

The first will be obvious; if the club continues to give him the love and the fans continue to get behind him and show him that he’s valued and even idolised by sections of the support that will be all he needs to put him in his happy place … and Levy says that people back home will respect that and honour that. A very sensible, and sober, assessment.

The other part is trickier; a lot of people surrounding Liel Abada do not believe Scottish football is a fitting stage for someone of his talents, and that’s a different problem with a different solution; we have to look credible in Europe next season. If we’re in the reformatted Champions League that will be a minimum of eight games on that stage for him and that will go a long way towards convincing people that he’s in the right place.

My one quibble with what Levy said is that he mischaracterises – or at least I hope he does – the overall views of The Green Brigade towards the Israeli state; he seems to believe that there is a section of the Celtic support which does not want to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist. This is because of the Resistance banner and the PFLP flag, but he makes a mistake if he thinks that such things translate into some wide-ranging view that Israel should be erased from the map.

In any case, he doesn’t ascribe that mindset to the support as a whole or to the club itself, so I think it comes out as a very fair and very reasonable assessment of Celtic and Liel’s position at Parkhead.

Israeli’s, he said, were initially furious at what The Green Brigade did but he pointed out that feelings have softened since amidst the recognition that there is complexity here … complexity, for McGowan and those who don’t believe in such a thing, or at least can’t apply themselves to it.

I think McGarry did an excellent job here, and has presented the story very well. No sensationalism, no headline-grabbing, he interviewed a moderate rather than some hard-liner which the rest of the media would have ate up and piggybacked on.

No, McGarry has shown what good journalism is here.

It’s an excellent piece and it actually shines an even harsher line on McGowan’s sensationalist trash. I commend him for it and urge all Celtic fans to read it, which you can do at the link in the first paragraph.

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  • John Copeland says:

    As I’ve said previously . MC Gowan was the boozebag ,bully in Auf Wiedersehen Pet who finally gets his ! I don’t think it’s quantum computing to understand that when a notorious anti Celtic ,right wing tabloid , employs someone to type up and preach to the public everything Scottish football , then the person toes the party line especially when describing a negative Celtic FC tale .I would not buff my manky windows after washing them with the Scottish daily Mail if the rag offered to pay me to do so

  • goodghuy says:

    Israelis were right to be raging with venom and anger at that banner, it was racist and bigoted. Murdering people because of their religion is disgracefull, Imagine that was Catholics that Hamas just slaughtered for being Catholics, we would be in uproar, and rightly so, but because they are Jewish for some reason it don’t seem to matter as much, pure anti semetic if you ask me. There is a lot of hypocrisy with this conflict, I support Israelis and Palestinians.

  • JAZ says:

    Any newspaper article should be balanced. Regrettably there are some within the Green Brigade who have an extremely blinkered view of life as a whole and appear to find it difficult to Move On, history is what it is Good or Bad. You can however use it to learn lessons. But back to your article, it definetly provides balance and while what is happening all over the Middle East ( not just Gaza) is horrific any protest at our Stadium should have significant support, it does not mainly because the majority are there to watch and enjoy our team not to try and make political statements or like or dislike a person because of their Natonality. You are 100% correct to highlight the Strength of the article while the best place for the other article is basically not to buy or read that particular person’s Report!

  • John S says:

    Your “one quibble” is a complicated matter in which I agree with Mr.Levy. The problem here is that some people have convinced themselves that Israel is an ‘evil’ country (more so than others it appears – to justify their focus and attention) but this only covers for their deeply subconscious anti-Semitism. The so-called ‘Palestinian’ authorities have rejected every single peaceful political solution for many years (Arafat was given ‘all he could dream of’ but backed out at the final moment) and at all times because no-one wants to acknowledge Israel’s right to exist (a polite way of saying ‘No Jews’). Iran is the major player here, Arabs are mere pawns. They sanctioned a massacre to highlight their agenda. On October 8th some were celebrating, some were mourning but the world had changed, the mask had fallen and, notwithstanding this reality, Iran was successful in its mission.

    • James Garrity says:

      Arafat was given all he could dream of? According to who? That paragon of honesty Bill Clinton?

  • Pan says:

    Well done James.
    McGarry is an excellent journalist and always behaves as a journalist should. He deserves the praise you have given him here. I know him and have great respect for his journalism and as a human being. He is head and shoulders above the others.

  • Robbie says:

    I’m glad that McGarry’s article that was published was able to hopefully add some much-needed nuance to the topic. James, I was wondering if you could clarify your point on the quibble you have with Levy in terms of what you hope is a mischaracterization of the Green Brigade. As a group of around 200 or so, the GB felt it would be appropriate and righteous to hoist a banner advocating the resistance for Palestine (Victory to the Resistance.) Hamas itself as an organization believe it represents the Palestinian people within the Gaza strip, and their aim according to their charter mission is to eliminate Israel. Personally, I don’t believe Hamas represents or supports the Palestinian people living under their regime in any way. Their military wing entered Israel and didn’t seek to attack the military or politicians. They entered villages and murdered or kidnapped civilians, some of which were soldiers, but many were not. So in my mind, I can’t see how there’s a misunderstanding in terms of what Levy showed. Based on the green light to wave a PFLP flag, based on the doubling down of waving Palestinian flags, and based on the decision to hoist the “Victory to Resistance” banner I guess I’m confused on how that can’t come across as not wanting Israel to exist anymore, or advocating for a single Palestinian only state.

    • Tim Buffy says:

      Tried the link to the article but it cuts out after the first couple of paragraphs and the rest is behind a paywall. Kind of defeats your idea of suggesting we should read it.

    • James Garrity says:

      I guess it helps if you know what ‘resistance’ means.

  • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

    Sorry James – But I’m gonna totally resist your urge to click onto any site that would financially aid The Evening Times…

    However if you’re saying that it’s a good article that’ll do me as I trust you impeccably –

    But it’s a huge no no for to click on I’m afraid…

    To do so would make me the biggest hypocrite in Scotland given my thoughts about The Scottish Football Media !

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