Ex-Pakistan cricketer ‘ambushed’ by UK pro-Israel activists

The photo posted to social media showed Afridi standing next to two men at a pro-Israel protest [Getty]

Pakistani former cricketer Shahid Afridi has pushed back against claims that he attended a pro-Israel vigil, after a UK-based pro-Israel group posted a photograph of the sportsman with two of its supporters.

The photo was posted to social media by North West Friends of Israel, accompanied by the caption: “Pakistani international cricketer Shahid Afridi stopped to offer his support for our call to release the hostages at our NWFOI vigil last Sunday in Manchester. Shahid is pictured with NWFOI co Chair Raphi Bloom & deputy Chair Bernie Yaffe. Thank you for your support, Shahid!”

The photo showed Afridi standing next to two men, one of whom was holding up a leaflet relating to the Israeli captives held Gaza.

Afridi took to social media on Wednesday to reject rumours that he had endorsed the pro-Israel group, saying that he often takes photos with fans and thought that “this situation was no different”.

“Imagine strolling down a street in Manchester (UK) and so-called fans approach you for a selfie. You oblige, and moments later, they upload it as some form of Zionist endorsement. Unbelievable! Please don’t believe everything that is uploaded,” he said in a post on X.

The cricketer also expressed his grief at Israel’s ongoing war on Gaza, which has so far killed over 37,000 people, most of them women and children.

“Seeing innocent lives in Palestine suffer is truly heartbreaking. Thus, any photo or association shared by in Manchester does not reflect my support for any situation where human lives are at stake.”

“I pray for peace, I pray for an end to this war, I pray for freedom,” he added.

Despite Afridi’s clarification, many social media users appeared unconvinced, questioning whether he had really not read the placards held behind him at the pro-Israel vigil.

“Strolling ? Are you blind that you couldn’t read what’s written on their posters ?” asked one X user.

“You can not even condemn Israel openly in this tweet. We are supposed to believe you were completely unaware of what these guys were up to?” said another.


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