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Gary Lineker in firing line after backing call for Israel football ban | UK | News UK News

The BBC is facing increased pressure to sack Gary Lineker following his call for Israel to be sanctioned by Fifa.

The presenter, 63, reposted a statement on X from a pro-Palestinian campaign which called for Israel to be removed from all global tournaments. It demanded this happen “until it ends its grave violations of international law”, referring to its siege of Gaza in response to Hamas’ October 7 attack.

Conservative MPs are now calling on the broadcaster to sack Mr Lineker. Jewish Tory MP Andrew Percy told The Telegraph: “Gary Lineker is an ill-informed, ignorant commentator on the Middle East. The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement [to boycott Israel] is a racist, anti-Semitic campaign and nobody who receives taxpayers’ money working in the BBC should be endorsing a campaign that is widely understood to promote Jew hate.”

While Stephen Crabb, a former Cabinet minister and the parliamentary chairman of the Conservative Friends of Israel, said: “This a deeply inappropriate tweet for any BBC figure to endorse, and especially for someone of Lineker’s prominence. The BDS movement is riddled with antisemitism from top to bottom, and deepens the divisions in our own society.”

The post Mr Lineker reposted yesterday was created by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel. In the statement, the Palestinian Football Association urged the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and FIFA to align with other sporting bodies in sanctioning Israel from competitions.

The statement requested they “take an urgent stance towards Israel’s grave violations of human rights and subject it to legal accountability measures.”

The post also called for officials and the public to pressurize FIFA and the IOC “to suspend Israel’s membership and ban it from international tournaments and games until it ends its grave violations of international law”.

Hamas killed 1,400 Israelis in a huge attack on October 7, with over 100 still being held captive. Israel has since launched a siege on Gaza, which it had been controlling the flow of goods and people in and out of for several decades.

Israel has been accused of violations of international law during their retaliation, including indiscriminately bombing civilian areas. The number of Palestinian civilians killed varies between estimates, although a recent estimate by the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor claims at least 100,000 Palestinians have been killed, wounded or reported missing in the past 100 days of the war.

A Campaign Against Antisemitism spokesperson said: “Gary Lineker has a lot to say about a lot of things, but antisemitism does not appear to be one of them. At a time of record levels of racism against Jews, not a peep.

“But he has found the time to amplify a call to suspend the world’s only Jewish state from international sports. His priorities are clear.”

A BBC source told the Daily Mail: “We aren’t going to give a commentary on individuals or individual tweets.”

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This notice was published: 2024-01-14 20:59:00

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