Arsenal defender Oleksandr Zinchenko is no stranger to the concept of war. The Ukrainian international has seen his country plunged into war with Russia over the last 18 months. He’s become an inspirational figure with his anti-war messages and actions over the same and condemning the war.
Zinchenko has helped a lot of people in need and excelled in humanitarian causes. However, the Arsenal defender appears to have seen his status go from hero-to-zero recently. That is because of his apparent stance in the Israel-Palestine conflict.
Over the last few days, the heated conflict between the two Arab nations has escalated in a shocking manner. It all started after the militant group Hamas launched a staggering attack at Israel. The members of the group launched attacks through air raids and by invading the country’s defensive line.
More than 5,000 rockets were launched at Israel and the members – being branded as terrorists – also breached their borders to terrorize Israeli citizens. Over 500 people are claimed to be dead in both Israel and Palestine – with the Israel prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu declaring open war with the group and Palestine.
Amid all this, a lot of social media seems divided. While some are sympathizing with Israel on the matter, others are showing strength to Palestine. Due to the sensitivity to it, most footballers have kept silence about this topic. But Zinchenko is not one of them.
Not one to be afraid of making political comments, the Ukrainian was strangely quick by making a statement. He simply uploaded a picture of a pro-Israel message that reads ‘I stand with Israel’. It’s clear that Zinchenko is on the Israeli side on this matter.
However, the Arsenal defender ended up triggering a lot of people on social media with this action. A lot of fans – even Arsenal fanatics – have been infuriated by him coming off as a hypocrite with his stance. With many considering Israel as the ‘oppressor’ in this conflict, the fact that Zinchenko seems to support them is rubbing fans the wrong way.
Some have noted how foolish he looks by being such an anti-war vocalist in recent years, only to seemingly support Israel’s attacks on Palestine with this stance. Moreover, fans are also calling for Arsenal to punish Zinchenko for this comments. Some are linking it to how they distanced themselves from Mesut Ozil when he criticized the treatment of Uighur Muslims in China in 2019.
Others are debating how the Gunners might’ve fined Mohamed Elneny if he showed support to Palestine in such a public way. Zinchenko has really infuriated a lot of fans with his stance, with his public image taking a major hit too. It also seems that he might’ve realized his mistake soon after posting this image on Instagram.
A few hours after doing so, Zinchenko decided to delete the image from his Instagram profile. He also made his profile private, so that only those he follows can view his posts. The 26-year-old was probably notified about how his action might have major consequences in changing his public image. The Ukrainian defender has not been fined or reprimanded by Arsenal for his actions.
There is no evidence that this will affect his role in Mikel Arteta’s squad either. However, Zinchenko might’ve just lost his reputation as an ‘anti war messenger’ with his recent actions and also lost a lot of respect the fans had for him.