Arsenal sponsor holds talks with club over pro-Palestine tweet

Arsenal sponsor holds talks with club after Mohamed Elneny posts support for Palestine
2 min read
15 May, 2021
The Egyptian born midfielder, who has more than 4.8 million Twitter followers, posted: "My heart my soul, my support for you Palestine."
“My heart my soul, my support for you Palestine," tweeted the Egyptian midfielder [Getty]
A leading Arsenal sponsor, the Lavazza Group, is holding "urgent talks" with the football club after its player Mohammed Elneny posted his support for Palestine, after Israeli forces carried out deadly attacks in Jerusalem's Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the blockaded Gaza strip.

Joining many football figures who showed public sympathy with the Palestinians and condemned Israel's aggression, the Egyptian born midfielder, who has more than 4.8 million Twitter followers, posted: "My heart my soul, my support for you Palestine."

The post, which received over 101,000 likes and 30,000 retweets as of Saturday, attracted supportive messages over Elneny’s sympathy with the plight of Palestinians.

Tal Ofer, a member of the Board of Deputies of British Jews who claims the tweet was anti-Semitic, called on Arsenal's sponsor to review the move in a bid to block public support of Palestine.

The Lavazza Group subsequently released a statement saying: "We’ll immediately reach out to Arsenal to remark we are concerned about the club associated with such a message.

Ofer also attempted to contact Adidas - the club's sponsors, and even called on the FA to suspend the midfielder for his tweet.

In a statement to the Jewish Chronicle this week, an Arsenal spokesperson defended elNeny and said he was entitled to his views.

"As with any employees of Arsenal, our players are entitled to express their views on their own platforms.

"As a club we are committed to confronting and eliminating all forms of discrimination and continue to champion the need for equality and diversity across all areas of life."

In April, Ofer had also complained about Labour leader Keir Starmer's plans to have an interfaith Ramadan Iftar, as the organisers reportedly supported boycotting Israel, prompting Starmer to pull out of the event.

Some Twitter observers also suggested that Elneny may face similar treatment to former Arsenal midfielder Mesut Ozil, who was ostracized from the club last year and now plays for Turkish side Fenerbahçe.

Ozil voiced his support for China’s abuses of its Uighur Muslim population, prompting speculation that Arsenal side-lined him following pressure from Chinese sponsors of the club.

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