Search form

Last updated: 2 min 50 sec ago

You are here


BBC star Gary Lineker strongly defends tweet about Israeli army arrests

Ex-England footballer and BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker. (Photo courtesy: social media)
LONDON: Ex-England footballer and BBC sports presenter Gary Lineker has drawn support and criticism after retweeting a video showing Palestinian boys and teens being dragged away and caged by Israeli soldiers.
Lineker commented on his retweet just one word: “Sickening.”
The video was originally posted to Twitter by Ben White, an author, researcher and activist, who wrote on his tweet about the video: “Israeli soldiers in Hebron bravely defend themselves from a number of existential threats disguised as defenseless Palestinian children.”
Lineker’s retweet drew a mix of comments, with @LTCPeterLerner (Lt. Col. Peter Lerner, former spokesperson for the Israel Defense Forces) telling Lineker: “Sorry, Gary, you’ve completely missed the point. When kids throw stones they are a public menace. They need to be stopped. Yes, the video is unpleasant but it conveniently shares only a glimpse of what happened, the aftermath of their actions. You should be wiser than this. #Fail”
Lineker fired back a short missive: “They should be stuffed into a small cage? You should be wiser. #fail“
Lerner replied: “No, they should be in school. Oh but their leadership closed the schools so they would go on a wild rampage in the streets. That is what is sickening. What would you do?”
Lineker then quickly retorted: “Treat them like humans. Bye.”
But that wasn’t the end — the exchange between celebrity and Twitterati continued as Lineker replied almost a dozen times, defending his video post for around three hours after it was first posted.
Lineker’s retweeted video via Ben White was of footage originally posted to YouTube by B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories. The organization states that it tries “to educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public; and help to create a human rights culture in Israel.”
B’Tselem’s video has been watched just 2,743 times (at the time of going to press) on YouTube, where it is titled, “Hebron routine: minors arrested in city center after clashes with soldiers.”
The video features an explanation as to why Israeli soldiers were making arrests in Hebron, stating that Palestinian youths threw stones at them on Oct. 13, 2017, after which the Israeli army caged 18 “young men.”
The shorter Twitter version, which has been viewed more than 731,000 times, edits out this information.
Lineker’s retweet has been liked over 12,000 times and retweeted itself more than 9,000 times. Comments under Lineker’s retweet are party anti-Israel, partly pro-Israel, but many focus on the age of the boys being arrested by the Israeli army. One Twitter user, @tones1971, commented: “They weren’t just arrested. They were stuffed in cages. That’s child abuse.”
A request for comment via Lineker’s Twitter feed went unanswered.