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Gary Lineker says he received threats following a retweet of a post by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, that was calling for Israel to face a ban from international sporting events.
The retweet was subsequently deleted, but it was the latest incident after he came close to losing his BBC job because of posts on X, formerly known as Twitter, in the past. Notably when he was briefly suspended after drawing a comparison between Suella Braverman’s rhetoric on immigration to that used in 1930s Germany, which could have been a breach of the company’s guidelines.
“It’s not about me. I am not the victim here,” Lineker told the Guardian, regarding the subsequent reaction to his retweet, which reportedly was misread by the former footballer, who believed it was saying a ban had come into place.
When asked about the social media postings on the Hamas-Israel conflict, the former England international said: “Everybody I talk to, every single person I know, is going: ‘What? What is happening?’ But the minute you open your mouth – well, not my mouth, but the minute I tweet a little bit – it’s so toxic.
“If you lean to one side or the other, the levels of attack are extraordinary. How could it be controversial to want peace? I just don’t understand it. You don’t need to be Islamophobic to condemn Hamas, or antisemitic to condemn Israel. But at the moment it’s just awful. Awful.”
Lineker has taken a stance in the war, but he explained: “I don’t see it as a Jewish thing. I see it as the Israeli government. Obviously, they’re responding to 7 October, but crikey, one atrocity does not deserve 80 atrocities. Or more.”
Lineker revealed he had signed up to the Refugees at Home charity and through the organisation, two men, one from Balochistan and one from Turkey had stayed with him.