A Tory MP compared taking the knee to a Nazi salute after England footballers performed the anti-racism gesture.
Players faced boos ahead of their match against Romania last night – but vowed to continue taking the knee throughout the Euro 2020 tournament.
And in a lengthy Facebook post last night, Tory MP Brendan Clarke-Smith, compared the gesture to footballers performing the Nazi salute during a 1938 match against Germany in Berlin.
He wrote: “Following the 1936 Berlin Olympics being used as a propaganda exercise and under a great deal of pressure from both the FA and Britain’s ambassador at the time, the players were encouraged to join the hosts in making the Nazi salute prior to the match.
“Reluctantly, they agreed and for many years since it has been a great source of shame for many of those involved, including the Football Association…
“The point here is that regardless of the original intention, the mixing of politics and football had disastrous consequences…”
Asked if Boris Johnson agreed with Mr Clarke-Smith, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I haven’t asked him that specific question, but I don’t see the connection.”
Danny Stone, director of the Antisemitism Policy Trust, said the comparison was “offensive” and called on the Conservative party to take action against him.
He tweeted: “This is an ill-considered and offensive comparison, which taken together with the additional comments demonstrate an urgent requirement for education.
“I hope the party will take action.”
Mr Clarke-Smith also made a series of disputed claims about the formal Black Lives Matter movement – to which taking the knee is linked, but not exclusively – claiming it had “sinister motives”, is “Marxist” and aims to “destroy” the nuclear family.
While one founder member of the formal BLM movement said in an interview in 2015 that she was a “trained Marxist” – the movement has grown and broadened as people the world over are drawn to its anti-racist message.
Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University African American Studies professor said “There are definitely socialists within the movement, as there have been in every single social movement in 20th century American history and today. But that does not make those socialist movements, it makes them mass movements.”
The claim about the nuclear family is a misquotation of a “manifesto” briefly published on the BLM website, and since removed.
The original language states the group’s opposition to the nuclear family being a “proscribed requirement”.