New York, NY, December 30, 2013 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today welcomed an apology from NBA player Tony Parker after the San Antonio Spurs guard was shown in photos using the “quenelle” Nazi-like gesture “linked to its anti-Semitic creator, the French entertainer Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.”
Parker, who assured that he will “never repeat the gesture,” noted that he was unaware of the hateful message of the salute and expressed his hope that the incident would “serve to educate others that we need to be more aware that things that may seem innocuous can actually have a history of hate and hurt.”
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director, issued the following statement:
We welcome Tony Parker’s apology in which he acknowledged learning of the dark history related to this gesture, and the painful message it can convey.
The quenelle - which has not taken hold on the streets in the U.S. - has unfortunately become a disturbing fad in France linked to its anti-Semitic creator, the French entertainer Dieudonne M’bala M’bala.
Our hope is that Tony Parker’s experience and his heartfelt regret will alert others to the harm caused by this abhorrent salute which Dieudonne invented to express his deeply held anti-Jewish sentiments. We recognize that its use is not always anti-Semitic, however our concern is that French athletes and entertainers have now made the quenelle into a faddish element, which has the potential to be mimicked by other young fans and athletes around the world.
We call on those who have posed with the quenelle to follow Parker’s lead and stop using it. Responsible public figures should condemn those who use a gesture which was created to express anti-Semitism.
Several prominent French public figures including soccer star Mamadou Sakho and TV journalist Yann Barthes have all been photographed making the gesture. Alain Sorel, an anti-Semitic filmmaker, was also seen posing at the Berlin Holocaust memorial, and in September, two French soldiers were punished for displaying the quenelle in front of a Paris synagogue.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.