Gary Lineker sparks fresh impartiality row after sharing video of professor who accuses Israel of 'genocide'

22 November 2023, 17:45 | Updated: 22 November 2023, 20:26

Gary Lineker has sparked a fresh impartiality row
Gary Lineker has sparked a fresh impartiality row. Picture: Getty
Kieran Kelly

By Kieran Kelly

Gary Lineker has sparked a fresh BBC impartiality row after he shared a video in which an Israeli academic accused Israel of 'textbook genocide' in Gaza.

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Lineker, who previously sparked an impartiality row after saying government rhetoric was not dissimilar from 1930s Germany, shared an interview with left-wing journalist Owen Jones.

Jones was speaking to Dr. Raz Segal, an associate professor of Holocaust and genocide studies, who said violence taking place in Gaza was a “clearly articulated” case of genocide.

“It’s articulated throughout Israeli media and society and politics now, and anyone who follows Hebrew language sources is exposed to shocking, shocking language by members of parliament, by journalists, on social media, in public spaces, calling to annihilate Gaza, to destroy Gaza, to flatten Gaza, to kill everyone,” Segal said.

“Because the intent is expressed so explicitly, so directly... in such unashamed ways and it’s continued to be expressed in this way, then I do think that what we’re seeing in front of our eyes is a textbook case of genocide," he went on.

On Tuesday, the Match of the Day presenter shared the clip from Jones's Twitter feed, with the caption: "Worth 13 minutes of anyone's time."

His comments are said to have left BBC staff "furious", The Times reports, and have sparked outrage online.

A review into the BBC's impartiality rules was carried out following Lineker's controversial comments about government rhetoric towards migrants.

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Following the review, the BBC decided to allow its top stars to share their own views on social media, but must stop short of political campaigning.

Presenters are also prohibited from commenting on political debates during an election period or taking up official roles with campaigning groups.

Meanwhile, presenters on flagship shows - including Lineker on Match of the Day - must not endorse or attack a political party while a programme is on air or for the two-week window before or after it aired.

Therefore, while Lineker's views on the Israel-Hamas conflict are controversial, his comments do not appear to represent a breach of impartiality rules.

Gary Lineker attends the 67th Ballon D'Or Ceremony
Gary Lineker attends the 67th Ballon D'Or Ceremony. Picture: Getty

But his comments have still caused a backlash online, with one person commenting: "BBC’s Lineker endorses video in which Israel is accused of ‘textbook genocide’.

"The taxpayer shouldn’t be forced to pay for this level of ignorance. Lineker needs to get down from his self-appointed pedestal."

Meanwhile, commentator Robin Aitken suggested Lineker 'ought to be out to destroy the BBC' after his comments.

Meanwhile, several others thanked Lineker for sharing the clip.