Friday, May 23, 2008

E.U. gaming co. steps over the line

Thanks to alert reader Kerstin Baker-Ash for sending this piece of odd news to Heebonics from Ireland.

Seems some gambling outfit sent out (purposefully or with reckless ignorance) a rather bizarre, insensitive and borderline anti-Semitic e-mail to customers regarding the Jewish coach of England's Chelsea football team (that's soccer to us heathen North Americans).

I have to agree with Kerstin on this. I don't know what the equivalent term is in Ireland, but whoever sent the e-mail out is a total doofus. Here's Kerstin's rant:

I wanted to draw your attention to a pretty idiotic e-shot forwarded to me by a friend from Paddy Power, an Irish betting firm.

Yesterday, Paddy Power were offering odds etc on the Man U/Chelsea game. In their mailing at, they feature a breakdown of the issues related to the game, with a photo of Avram Grant (Chelsea's Jewish manager, born in Petah Tikvah and married to an Israeli celebrity). The title of the article is "Final Solution".

[Ed. Note: Grant is the first Israeli to coach an English football team and is married to Israeli television personality Tzofit Grant.]

I'm fully aware that this could be a complete overreaction, but it just put my back up. Why post a photo of Avram Grant, who has been the target of anti-Semitic attacks in the past, under a title which harkens back to Hitler's catchphrase about the destruction of the Jewish people? At best, it's tasteless. At worst, it's yet another thinly-veiled attack on Grant, who happens to be a Jewish soccer coach and whose father is a survivor of the "Final Solution".

Chelsea FC played Manchester United [on May 21] during the Champions League final. Like most other businesses who can't get past Google's rules on gambling, Paddy Power do a lot of e-mail marketing. The screengrab [below] is taken from their e-shot yesterday, and shows a photo of Grant under the title "Final Solution".

Whatever your opinion about Grant and his coaching abilities (or personal feelings about Chelsea, I couldn't care less - I've never followed the football), it's definitely not okay to post photos about Avram Grant under Nazi-coined phrases.

Shame on you, Paddy Power. I'd encourage you to e-mail them and express your disgust about their choice of e-shots, too.

I've blogged about it on, and just thought I'd pass the information onto you.

Here's the screenshot. What do you think? Is it anti-Semitic or just plain ignorant? My vote's on the former. Click on pic to enlarge.

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