Introduction: The Wembley Arch Illuminating the Night Sky
Richard Littlejohn shines a light on the iconic Wembley Stadium arch and its role as a symbol of support for various causes.
However, he questions why, when it comes to showing solidarity with Jewish victims of Hamas, football authorities remain silent.
Football’s Tradition of Virtue Signaling
Littlejohn remarks on football’s penchant for ostentatious displays of virtue signaling.
The Football Association (FA) has often used the stadium arch to promote social and political causes, from LGBTQ+ campaigns to healthcare heroes.
This sets the stage for examining the FA’s reluctance to support Israel.
The Request to Display the Israeli Flag
Littlejohn discusses the government’s request for the football authorities to display the colors of the Israeli flag on the Wembley arch during an international match between England and Australia.
This request was made to offer reassurance to the British Jewish community amid a surge in anti-Semitic incidents linked to Hamas’s actions.
The FA’s Fear of a ‘Backlash’
The article highlights the FA’s refusal to honor the request to display the Israeli flag. Littlejohn questions the nature of the “backlash” the FA fears.
He speculates whether it’s the fear of pro-Palestinian demonstrators causing trouble at Wembley, but this remains unspecified.
Comparing Football’s Stances on Various Causes
Littlejohn examines football’s history of taking sides in social and political matters.
He contrasts the FA’s unwavering support for the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, even in the face of controversies surrounding BLM’s stance on Israel, with its refusal to stand in solidarity with Israelis.
Addressing the Hypocrisy
Littlejohn calls out the apparent hypocrisy in football’s approach. He questions how the FA can reconcile its commitment to opposing racism in all forms with its refusal to support Israel, which has faced acts of terrorism and racism on an extreme scale.
The Impact on Jewish Supporters
The article delves into the impact of the FA’s decision on Jewish supporters of football clubs like Tottenham, Arsenal, and Leeds.
It discusses how the FA’s refusal to support Israel leaves Jewish fans feeling abandoned by the game they love.
Current Climate and Rise in Anti-Semitic Incidents
Littlejohn emphasizes the current climate in which British Jews have faced a surge in anti-Semitic threats and abuse.
Anti-Semitic incidents quadrupled following the recent Hamas attacks. Schools and synagogues have increased security measures due to safety concerns.
Prime Minister’s Reassurance
he article mentions the Prime Minister’s visit to a synagogue in Finchley to reassure the Jewish community that Britain stands with them and Israel.
It contrasts this gesture with the FA’s refusal to show support.
Questioning Football’s Motivations Littlejohn questions football’s motivations, particularly when it comes to potential Middle Eastern investments.
He cites the influence of Middle Eastern wealth on FIFA and its controversial choices, including awarding the World Cup to Qatar.
Exploring Silence on Human Rights Abuses T
he article explores football’s silence on human rights abuses in countries like Qatar, which has a dismal record in areas like women’s rights and persecution of homosexuals.
It questions how football navigates these issues while promoting other social causes.
Silence on Hamas Atrocities
Littlejohn observes the silence from prominent football figures like Gary Lineker and Alan Shearer on the Hamas atrocities in Israel.
He raises the possibility that financial interests in Middle Eastern states may influence their silence.
The Missed Opportunity at Wembley
The article concludes by lamenting the FA’s missed opportunity to offer a symbolic gesture of support to the Jewish community through the Wembley arch.
It criticizes the FA for its silence, contrasting it with what it sees as an act of empowerment that could have reassured the Jewish community.
Final Verdict on English Football’s True Colors
Littlejohn’s closing remarks assert that the actions, or lack thereof, surrounding this situation reveal English football’s true colors, which may not align with the principles of equality and human rights it claims to support.