The Last Thing Celtic Needs Is To Be Linked With A Player Sacked For Anti-Semitism.

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Last week, as the Abada stories were bubbling away, we had an intriguing “offer” from abroad.

The former Mainz winger Anwar El Ghazi publicly declared his respect for the Celtic fans stance by offering to come and play for us for free.

Did he mean it? Probably not. Nobody in football is going to play the game for free.

But it’s not really a great idea either way.

I have no idea if El Ghazi is a good player. I have no idea if he’s had issues in the past.

But his team tore up his contract because he allegedly posted an anti-Semitic comment on social media – he used the notorious phrase “from the river to the sea” – and he hasn’t found anyone yet who wants to take him on. In a game where even convicted rapists and guys who have been recorded threatening their girlfriends and worse have teams, that’s heavy.

It doesn’t really matter whether this guy can play or not, or whether he means what he says or whether our club had once had him on a shopping list or whatever else the circumstances may be. We’re simply not going to attempt to sign someone with that stamped on his record.

And the media knows that. Their attempt to keep this story alive is pure mischief making.

As fair or as unfair as the charge might be, as accurate or inaccurate as you might think it, he’s got a tag on him now that’s the kiss of death as far as we’re concerned and if this was more than just a media fantasy we’d have to deal with a firestorm of momentous proportions that would simply make it not worth the effort.

Global negative publicity would follow.

Let’s not kid ourselves on here that we could brass neck that. The very act of offering him a deal would catapult us into the consciousness of every person on the watch for anti-Semites, and they already have our club in their sights. This would be Year Zero stuff.

We would almost certainly see our sponsors and commercial parties lobbied aggressively … and some of them would fold the hand, there’s nothing surer. This is the age of cancel culture after all.

The story was a non-starter.

The Record’s version of it, that FIFA would block it on some pretext or another, is a complete non-issue since even if we had a different board of directors, it is hard to imagine one that would endorse this sort of move with the Abada situation bubbling away in the background. Talk about confirming every bad perception people have about us.

I know there is an element of our support which doesn’t give a damn about the anger of the Jewish community. I think those people are halfwits.

Why are we needlessly making enemies? Why would we want to? Sensitivity to the plight of Jews across the world is not some repudiation of the cause of the Palestinians, it’s about having basic humanity and I don’t think that anyone who can’t empathise with the Jews has a shred of that.

Celtic has to be really careful here, as a club, as an institution. We have to tread carefully. I know there is no constituency amongst our support for signing this guy.

I think everyone realises that even if he was a player who enhance the squad it’s impossible to do it and not pay a savage price for it. This is a media construct. It should stay that way.

I’m locking this article. Some good sense has been spoken in the comments, including from some of our Jewish fans who are very welcome to comment and whose take on this I find most welcome. Some of the other comments display shrieking ignorance. Others callousness. Some, and these are the ones which don’t even make it up, the kind of bigotry and hatred I associate with huns. Not Ibrox fans. Huns. Absolute gutter dwelling trash, and I’m pretty ashamed that we have people like that in our support. 

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  • James Garrity says:

    Netanyahu also uses the phrase “from the river to the sea”. In fact, it’s in the founding declarations of his Likud party.
    I’m afraid my sympathies, at the moment, are not with Jews worldwide, but with the 30,000+ known to have died as a result of Israel’s genocide. And that’s not counting those still under the ruins. My sympathy is also with those still living, deprived of food, water, electricity, and medicine. It’s also with those who are having surgery, and limbs amputated, without anaesthetic. And it’s with everyone else in Rafah, who is awaiting whatever Hell Israel is about to unleash.
    Maybe, at some point, I’ll find room to have a kindly thought about the feelings of Jews worldwide.

    • Robbie says:

      Maybe at some point you’ll find room to have a kindly thought about the feelings of Jews worldwide? Good grief man. I am Jewish and I have empathy for both Jews that are suffering both inside and outside of Israel as well as the Palestinian people. This isn’t a competition. If Israel and Jews struggle, Palestinians don’t win. You think Palestinian citizens would be happy to know about the October 7th attacks or the fact Israeli hostages are being held in Gaza? I’d think most Palestinians would find that distressing. You think I’m happy seeing Palestinians dying left and right and not being allowed access to a free state? It’s awful. Your comment was deeply hurtful, not that you care because, well I’m Jewish and like you said you don’t have room to be empathetic to my people right now. It’s comments like yours that Liel Abada doesn’t want to play for us, not because are support is Pro Palestine. If we’re a club open to all we should be empathetic, loving, and kind to all.

    • Jo P says:

      Thank you James Garrity ? Anyone who prioritises pampering to zionists over human rights for the Palestinian people being deliberately starved and culled! I am extremely disappointed in our club. Brother Walfrid would be turning in his grave!!! Hail Hail fellow human ??

    • Damian says:

      Don’t leave it too late.

  • Jonny says:

    “From the river to the sea, Palestine shall be free” was what he was suspended for. An oft-repeated and misunderstood phrase from people the world over.

    Since clarified with comments such as

    “to the extent my previous statements on social media have been misunderstood, I would like to make clear that I stand for peace and humanity for all”

    He posted another statement in which he condemned “the killing of all innocent civilians in Palestine and Israel”

    “Stand for what is right, even if it means standing alone,”


  • Frank Connelly says:

    NOT ANOTHER WINGER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Clachnacuddin and the Hoops says:

      No definitely not Frank…

      It’d just be another one who doesn’t care about the club in any way whatsoever and would be out for months at the first Boot he would inevitably get in the thug land thatis Scottish Football !

  • Billy Boy says:

    Well said James

  • Brian Traynor says:

    We mustn’t annoy those poor zionists that’s what you are saying but we must support abada who won’t play for the people who pay his wages,if he was russian he would be told where to go

  • charlie bhoy says:

    From the river to the sea is not anti Semitic it is pro Palestinian and is no more offensive than the Israeli flag which shows the star of David between the two rivers of the Jordan and the Nile .

    • Robbie says:

      Charlie Bhoy that is not correct. The blue stripes on the Israeli flag represent the tallit, not the Jordan and Nile rivers. Are you Jewish? If not, I would be careful stating what is and isn’t antisemitic. Be pro Palestinian, not anti Israeli or anti Jewish my friend and hail hail.

  • James Forrest says:

    Some of the comments on here … deary me.

    Even worse ones went in the bin.

    But let’s get it out of the way. Whatever YOU might think of that phrase, a lot of Jewish people consider it problematic if we’re being generous. He was sacked for it. He won’t win his case if he takes it to a tribunal. Labour just suspended a Parliamentary candidate for it and not one credible person in the political or media landscape thinks they were wrong.

    YOU might have YOUR view on it, but as a club we would get ANNIHILATED by the negative publicity. It’s an argument that it would be suicidally pointless to even pursue because we would not win and it would only do us harm. And to what end?

    It’s a ridiculous idea. Ridiculous.

    Sometimes right or wrong doesn’t even matter. (And I personally believe it’s a problematic phrase which because of its sensitivity shouldn’t be used). A debate is only really worth having if you can win it, and this wouldn’t even be close. It’s mental even to try, and we couldn’t defend it, not a chance in Hell.

    • James Garrity says:

      I can’t see us trying to sign him anyway, so the issue is moot.
      However, we’re in a strange moral dimension when we have to distance ourselves from someone who is speaking out against a people being slaughtered in an act of genocide, for fear of upsetting those who quietly approve of said genocide.

  • SSMPM says:

    Western censure of that saying or from that folk song representing the Palestinian homeland from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean Sea that originates way back in history, way before the origins of the state of Israel since when the terrorist state of Israel has continually and consistently kicked the 10 bells out of Palestinians, killing and stealing their houses and land. Way before Hamas or the PLO. It is simply too conveniently utilised as anti-semitic for and by those that are pro Israeli and anti Palestinian.
    I’ve never really heard of this guy so I don’t know where the sense in signing him is and I get your ‘under current circumstances’ comments. No doubt those very westerners like Suella Braveman and the DR, Daily Mail type western colonial supporting unionists would be the first to attack us. Benjamin Netanyahu and his Israeli football associative members that seem to hate Celtic too would love it. However we should never be led the likes of them, only our own sense of decency. We had an Israeli living Palestinian play for us in the not too distant past and a player’s ethnicity or nationality should never be a barrier at a club that that prides itself as being free to and welcoming of all. When we signed an East German there was no issues and actually Andreas Thom served us well. HH

  • SSMPM says:

    The Palestinian player was Beram Kayal that went on to play for Fulham I believe. It was never an issue then so it shouldn’t be now. If he’s good enough to play then he should be allowed to and if not then not but because of our footballing decision and not halted because of the highjacked misrepresentation of words by haters. HH

  • Robbie says:

    I want to be very careful with how I frame my opinion here. I don’t believe Celtic is an antisemitic club as some in Israel or the greater Jewish diaspora have suggested. As an organization and within our support I feel the club has done very good things for Jewish players as well as Israeli players. Being Jewish I am very much pro Palestine. I believe Palestine has a right to exist with East Jerusalem as its capital with freedom of movement and all that comes with a peaceful state. Some Jewish people agree with me, some do not. Some Israelis agree with me, some do not. I don’t believe to be pro Palestinian you have to be anti-Israel or vice versa. Israelis and Palestinians have a lot more in common than different, and the conflict is awful. While I don’t believe Celtic is an antisemitic club, I do believe that individual people who happen to be Celtic supporters voice opinions on this platform and others that are at times antisemitic or certainly lacking in empathy or understanding. Because of our clubs history, I can absolutely empathize with the plight of the Palestinian people. That doesn’t mean I have to agree with some of the garbage that’s out there about Israel or Jewish people as a whole. Same thing with Israel, I can also be pro Israel and disagree with some of the garbage that that group espouses or supports. My concern about this narrative James is that again our supporters are so Pro Palestine that at times it can be blinding, and that is why you hear some Jews and Israelis accuse our great club of antisemitism. The amount of time I read the term “Zionist” or “Anti Zionist” in this comment section is just obnoxious. It’s not even used correctly. The Green Brigade consistently whiffs on its messaging and it absolutely drives me bonkers. I think it’s great if many of us want to be pro Palestinian. More power to all of us for wanting peace but how much garbage I have to read from Celtic fans over time about what Jewish people think or don’t think or what Israeli people think or don’t think is just brutal. I’ve been a Jewish Celtic supporter my whole life and honestly I have to take mental health breaks because the constant Celtic/Palestine-Israel stuff is just a burnout. While I have family that does come from a Scottish and Irish Catholic background, it gets old having to feel like supporters at this club are dead against me for being Jewish.

    • James Garrity says:

      Robbie, you probably include me as one of those who are anti-Jewish, but you couldn’t be more wrong. I am equally prepared to condemn the slaughter on 7 October, as I am the 30-fold slaughter since then.
      I couldn’t care less what religion either side is. When I see innocent civilians being slaughtered, I don’t care who is doing the slaughtering, it gets condemned.
      The difference is that this slaughter is ongoing. And we are watching it happening. Innocent children starving, denied food, water and medicine.
      This is barbaric. No need to bring any religious dimension to it; it is simply a powerful people A, inflicting unspeakable death and suffering on a helpless people B. We can all condemn that unequivocally, surely?

  • Effarr says:

    Celtic fans were not that long ago accused of being anti-semitic and I suppose the club was included in that too. If you complained about someone playing a Jew`s harp outside your window at three o` clock in the morning you would be called anti-semitic. It is a cowardly and loopy way they have got of silencing people. I don`t suppose many football bloggers in Israel will lose much sleep over what gets sung at Ibrox every fortnight, so I wouldn`t get too apoplectic if I were you.

  • goodghuy says:

    James some of our fans are anti semites, and I’d like to know were is there Ukrainian flags, is it only Palestinians who are victims here, were is the condemnation of the innocent Israelis who got massacred. The comments on here are a disgrace. James excellent peace, and yes if Celtic were to sign that anti semite and racist then Celtic would get a real annihilation from the media and rightly so. Celtic used to be a club open to all, Jesus Christ almighty is what I have to say to that now. Some of our fans are an embarrassment, and that’s puting it mildly. From the river to the sea is anti Jewish in my opinion, and i am anti nobody. HH

    • James Garrity says:

      So goodghuy, you want Celtic to be open to all? But not including this guy you’ve never heard of but dismiss as a racist?

  • Jim Duffy says:

    You’re right James this guy shouldn’t be anywhere near Celtic even if it was possible, regardless of our thoughts on Israel/Palestine,the press would turn us into a pariah team as would probably the rest of the UK,we would be equivalent to North Korea in the eyes of the Scottish sevco loving press.

  • SSMPM says:

    There has been plenty of condemnation for the terrorist actions of the Hamas murderers on this site and still to this day no denial that it continues to remain absolutely despicable
    Since then the Israeli state has smashed to bits Gaza and thousands. Should that not be condemned? Some of the comments above calling people that identify that as terrorist actions too seem to be in denial of that and conveniently use that anti semitic term at the drop a hat. Scooping up thousands of people and children’s internal body parts in to bags is as the result of disgraceful Israeli soldiers actions. It says more about you that you can’t see or discuss the debate objectively. Shame on you.
    Ultimately I agree though this guy is not a player we need to sign on the basis of a footballing decision. HH

  • SSMPM says:

    Robbie you appear to actually be one of the very few people that identifies with being Jewish and of Jewish heritage. It is refreshing to hear your more balanced comments and views fella. HH

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