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Lebanon: Academics and Bloggers Call for Israel Boycott

A new boycott campaign of Israel has been launched by Lebanese academics and bloggers.

Lebanese blogger Rania Masri joined with her fellow blogger/academic Marcy Newman, an American who lives in the West Bank, to launch the initiative.

The campaign has been given its own blog site, titled Boycott Zionism, to which Lebanese academics and bloggers have been adding their names to the growing list.

On her blog, Newman stated the campaign was in response to a call by the Palestinian National Boycott Movement to expand the boycott internationally:

in honor of يوم الأرض (land day) and the palestinian national boycott movement’s call for land day to be global bds day the campaign has finally been launched in lebanon

Part of the campaign's statement reads as follows:

Statement of Academics in Lebanon

In this latest onslaught against Palestinians, Israel has attacked a university, the Ministry of Education, schools across the Gaza Strip, and several UNRWA schools. Such attacks against learning centers are not unique for Israel. Most particularly since 1975, Israel has infringed upon the right of education for Palestinians by closing universities, schools and kindergartens, and by shelling, shooting at, and raiding hundreds of schools and several universities throughout the occupied Palestinian territories.

Nor have these attacks been limited against Palestinians. As academics in Lebanon, we are all too familiar with Israeli onslaughts against educational centers. In its latest assault, in 2006, for example, Israel destroyed over 50 schools throughout Lebanon, and particularly schools designed for the economically disadvantaged in the South.

We thus stand, as academics in Lebanon, in urging our colleagues, regionally and internationally, to oppose this ongoing scholasticide and to support the just demand for academic boycott, divestment, and sanctions against Israel. Specifically, we ask our colleagues worldwide to support the call by the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel to comprehensively and consistently boycott and disinvest from all Israeli academic and cultural institutions, and to refrain from participation in any form of academic and cultural cooperation, collaboration or joining projects with Israeli institutions as a contribution to the struggle to end Israel’s occupation, colonization and system of apartheid.

The boycott call has been welcomed by Palestinian bloggers, some of whom have promoted and posted links to it from their blogs, including Gaza 08 and Uprooted Palestinians.

Fellow Lebanese blogger, Rami at Land and People, has also added his voice of support:

Rania and Marcy who are tireless (unlike me) have started this essential campaign for the academic boycott of Zionists. Please check the website of the Lebanese Campaign for the Boycott of Zionism, and join the campaign if you haven't already done that.

Boycott, divestment and sanctions are peaceful means of civil resistance to oppressors. Support the Palestinian and Lebanese people in resisting occupation and oppression.

48 comments

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  • Samir

    Wonderfull rosy and naive post… Boycott Zionism! what is this? Boycotting Zionism…

    When you boycott something you stop buying its stuff…or attending its venues…. or seeing its programs or services on TV…

    If you want anyone want to boycott israeli products that’s fine… and I wish you good luck… I have notice that I am not buying anything that come from Israel without even knowing it…. Israeli products do not reach all the confines of the earth except cell phones … (developed by Intel in Israel in early 1990’s)…that is something I cannot do without… even Bin Laden and major liberation and resistant fighters use it….

    Thus I wish both of this students a very hard pressed luck to undermine the zionist entity….by boycotting it … There is nothing the zionist entity would like than for you two to stop buying its products….

  • MERC

    Nice try, ‘Samir’.

  • i am not sure where you live samir, but in lebanon there are no israeli products because it is illegal to import them. this is one of the wonderfully unique things about the boycott campaign in lebanon. but that doesn’t mean there are not many products to boycott from europe and the united states which send a significant portion of their proceeds directly to the zionist entity. additionally, many of the corporations are on occupied palestinian lands, usually on the ruins of palestinian villages in historic 1948 palestine. thus, in lebanon we boycott companies like coca-cola, mcdonalds, starbucks, nestle, burger king, johnson & johnson, and phillip morris. but there are others, too. the palestinian boycott movement has a page with some such companies to boycott that help the zionist entity profit and continue its colonial project:

    http://bdsmovement.net/?q=node/370

    but i would also say that colonialism in palestine, lebanon, and syria is bigger than “israel” because those who support it financially are outside (largely the united states). the zionist entity has always existed as a result of these state and corporate funds and so it is bigger than the entity itself. hence our project’s name.

  • With this post, Antoun Issa gives the impression that there is a broad consensus amongst Middle East bloggers for a boycott of “Zionism.” In fact, there is no such consensus. Rather, there is an agreement between three bloggers and a few dozen professors, all of whom share the same radical, rejectionist ideology about Israel. Antoun Issa, who seems to share their views as well, has simply given them a little free publicity at GVO’s expense.

    An aside: no-one has taken the trouble to define Zionism, or to explain what it means to “boycott” a complex political ideology – as opposed to a place.

    Nor has anyone explained how eschewing quarter pounders and chicken mcnuggets will help end Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian territories, or how it will help the Palestinian people in any way. Perhaps because the answer is that it won’t help the Palestinians at all.

    The Boycott Zionism site is just silly. It shows such an abysmal ignorance of basic concepts – like corporate profits and private donations, for example – that it is not worth addressing in detail. We should stop using l’Oreal hairspray to end the occupation? Seriously? Starbucks, by the way, does not donate corporate funds to the IDF. That is an urban legend. Link: http://tinyurl.com/dycuvu

    Finally, Marcy Newman’s claim that “we boycott companies like coca-cola, mcdonalds, starbucks, nestle, burger king, johnson & johnson, and phillip morris” [sic] might be true – if by “we,” she means herself and a handful of her like-minded friends. Having visited Lebanon myself, I can assure you all that all the products and purveyors she mentions are well-represented there, and just as popular as they are everywhere else in the world.

    Reuters not only contributes money to GV, but also links to its RSS feed on the Reuters site. It seems, therefore, that a respected international news agency is being put in a position of giving wide exposure to the views of a minority of bloggers who promote radical ideologies that are based on dubious information.

    • Lisa,

      Just because you don’t approve of the boycott or you don’t think it’s there doesn’t meant that the consensus isn’t there.

      I came back from Beirut a couple of weeks ago, and yes sure Starbucks and Mcdonald’s are thriving and popular, but with a huge majority of tourists.. the Lebanese are actually a minority there.

      GV is impartial, and views reported do not necessarily represent the views of the people behind GV. And I fail to see how the boycott is a “radical” ideology compared to the “defense” ideology of the IDF manifested in Gaza and in Lebanon 2006 (just a sample).

      PS: fact check, Reuters is NOT a current contributor to GV

  • Lisa,

    Antoun’s job is to report on what bloggers are saying. It doesn’t matter if you disagree what those bloggers are saying; if it’s in the blogosphere, then it’s news for GV. Our job is to report on the underreported, not to please you.

    -Jillian

  • Jillian –

    Antoun’s job is to report what bloggers are saying. That is true. It is, however, *not* his job to cherry pick obscure blog posts that happen to coincide with the views expressed on his personal blog.

    For every post about Israel published on MENA, there are several anti-Israel posts. Furthermore, even the most innocuous posts about Israel attract trolls who frequently engage in unabashed Jew-baiting. This problem is never addressed by the editors, who seem unable to draw a line between free expression and the expression of hate.

    Given the virulently anti-Israel views you express on *your* personal blog, I find your involvement in GV/MENA highly problematic, in that they represent a clear conflict of interest. I wonder if GV would think it appropriate to have a contributor from Israel who identified on his personal blog with the radical anti-Arab settler movement? If the answer is “no,” then you should recuse yourself from contributing to MENA.

  • Lisa,

    What I blog about on my own time and in my own blog does not relate to my work with GV. We’ve been over this; not my fault that you don’t understand that.

    And the blogs Antoun picked? Not obscure by any means.

    Jillian

  • Jillian – I disagree on both counts. You are on record as as having partisan views, which are reflected in your contributions to GV/MENA. Is the purpose of GV to amplify grassroots voices, or to promote partisan political agendas? Based on much of the MENA content, it seems to be the latter.

    And you have not answered my question about whether GV would allow a religious Zionist settler who expressed strong anti-Palestinian views to write contributions for GV.

    Neither Nancy nor Rania is a well-known blogger. They are part of the radical echo-chamber of fake leftists who support fascist movements like Hamas and Hezbollah.

    I also find it very significant that you have been unable to muster any counter-arguments to the points I raised in both my comments.

    • tamara qiblawi

      “You are on record as as having partisan views, which are reflected in your contributions to GV/MENA. Is the purpose of GV to amplify grassroots voices, or to promote partisan political agendas?”

      what partisan political agendas? what party do you speak of? the party that is occupied? the party that has no voice? if so then i hope we all have this “partisan agenda” if we are to speak about truth and justice through social media.

      i think, lisa goldman, that you have no right to be talking about what is partisan, who is obscure and what movements are marginal like you are some kind of authority- just like marcy and rania pointed out- just because you came to lebanon illegally and decided to color your ‘analysis’ with your shallow, arrogant views . i am a lebanese citizen. seeing that tv report that you gave from lebanon made my skin crawl. what you did was invasive. you think that the lebanese do not hate israel that they have forgotten about the wounds that your state has inflicted on the country the 18,000+ that it has murdered but you are mistaken. don’t be fooled by the so-called “westernized” night life or those lebanese you have spoken to and wish for “friendship” with israel. these people have an identity crisis. those of us who remember, those of us who have even a morsel of self-respect do not want your friendship. we want you to change radically so that zionism is no more and we support the boycott.

  • (1) A visit by Lisa Goldman (illegal that it was) to Lebanon hardly gives her credibility to discuss what is mainstream and what is radical in the country.  One can very confidently say that all those who support resistance in Lebanon, who are at least 50 per cent of the country, support “a radical rejectionist ideology about Israel.” We are not the minority, not according to political polls.

    (2) Zionism is not too complex of a political ideology. It is the idea that people who adhere to the Jewish religion have a claim to a particular land. The problem, for Zionism, is that, for centuries, Palestinians – of Muslim, Jewish, and Christian faiths – have lived on that land.  The predominant interpretation of Zionism is that that particular plot of land, known to Zionists as the land of Israel, belongs only to Jews, and therefore practicing Zionism involves (1) a unity of government and religion; and, much more importantly, (2) a belief in superior laws for one set of people. It is – as was stated in Durban – that Zionism is a form of racism. And indeed as it is practiced in Palestine it is racism. No different from racism in any other part of the world, except for the fact that the world’s 4th largest army is used to murder people and steal their land as a result of this racist ideology.

    (3) The idea of boycotting Zionism rather than boycotting Israel is to stress that it is this ideology of racism and occupation that is opposed.  Should Israel cease to be a zionist state, should Israel cease to treat Jews one way and non-Jewish Palestinians another way, then the boycott movement would cease as well. It is a similar concept to boycotting apartheid South Africa and not simply boycotting South Africa, a similar concept to opposing segregationist policies in Jim Crow US and not boycotting US.

    (4) Boycotting institutions and companies that invest in and support Israel is one effective means to stand in solidarity with Palestinians, and thus stand in solidarity with the struggle for civil and human rights and liberation. It is not the only way, and alone, it does not suffice, but it is one effective method.  It has been proven to be one effective method in the struggle for liberating South Africans from apartheid policies.  It has already shown itself to be an effective public voice. [You may go to the link in the original post to see our statement for more on this.] Interestingly, Israeli professors like Tanya Reinhart and Ilan Pappe have publicly called for a boycott of Israel.

    (5) Lisa Goldman is right to be concerned about a “respected international news agency is being put in a position of giving wide exposure to the views of a minority of bloggers who promote radical ideologies that are based on dubious information,” but she is incorrect about the bloggers themselves. The bloggers that do promote minority viewpoints are those that pretend to speak for peace while promoting racist policies and military occupation and lies and misinformation. So, we all should be concerned when an international news agency does not give equal and fair coverage and does not present the voices of the oppressed.

    Rania Masri & Marcy Newman

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