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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

  • Lisa,

    First, I will not continue to debate with a troll. Second, I am not an editor and therefore I do not know what an editor’s choice would be; thirdly, my views are not as “strong” as you seem to think, and lastly, my role with GV is to cover Moroccan blogs…Any coverage of Palestinian blogs I have provided is in lieu of having a regular author for Palestine.

    Finally, referring to any movement as “fascist” shows just how partisan you are. You are in no place to judge.

    Jillian

  • Marcy, what a long rant! And not one single credible source to support your many specious claims, either.

    But what does one expect from an “academic” who once instructed her students at the American University of Beirut to organize a demonstration outside McDonald’s in lieu of sitting a final examination? http://tinyurl.com/d2psd4

    Mindless “activism” – yes.

    Intelligent, detached analysis – utterly absent.

    Ugly anti-Israel ranting – depressingly par for the course on GV/MENA.

    • tamara qiblawi

      what an arrogant, vapid response.

      maybe you should not be such a lazy journalist and read marcy’s post that you quote from properly so that you are not just reproducing slander.

      • Tamara, I know that post very well. So does the Palestinian journalist, a friend and colleague, who sent it to me – as a joke.

        • tamara qiblawi

          well u read it wrong. she did not instruct “her students at the American University of Beirut to organize a demonstration outside McDonald’s in lieu of sitting a final examination.” if you read it properly you would see that this was a slanderous accusation.

          i was in AUB at the time and I can attest that marcy never did such a thing

    • Lisa, I don’t think you’re capable of refuting Marcy’s argument. You have only called it names and was unable to support your claims. In fact, all your comments were bunch of pure and baseless attacks. You really can’t even provide readers with opponent argument.

  • ck

    Le grand mechant *sigh* Is Lebanon a country even? When Egyptian officials reacted angrily to the discovery of a Hizballah cell in the Sinai and stated that \Nasrallah wants to turn Egypt into a playground like Lebanon\ no one even took umbrage with the suggestion that Lebanon is nothing less than a wholly owned subsidiary of Syria and Iran, where those countries get to play out their geopolitical aspirations at the expense of the Lebanese people.

    I am sighing because despite the fact that I am Israeli and a staunch Zionist, I have nothing but the greatest fondness for the Lebanese. My greatest wish is to see the rise of a vibrant and independent Lebanon free from the machinations of foreign interests. That includes us by the way! The only thing I want from Lebanon is to be able to chill on the beach, party in Beirut and eat cherries at the homes of my many friends there.

    Rania and Marcy want to boycott Zionism? Forgive me if I don’t quiver in fear. I do not place my hope for future peace in the polemicists. So good luck with the boycott… I hope you’ve thrown out all your cell phones and Intel-based Macs and PCs. For starters… the Zionist entity enjoys a remarkable amount of trade with Lebanon. I know that eliminating that trade will do wonders for the Palestinians.

    Oh and Jilian! Check out http://jewishmorocco.blogspot.com – that’s where my people were from before we came to Israel.

    • Ck,

      I am, unsurprisingly, one step ahead of you. Please see my post on Jewish Morocco. I lived in Morocco for quite some time, incidentally, where the vast majority of the Jewish population lives happily, and in more prosperity than the general population.

      Jillian

      Post-note: I said unsurprisingly because I keep constant tabs on the Moroccan blogosphere, nothing else.

      • Jillian,

        What sense is there in disputing CK’s history because you lived somewhere for a few years and had a different experience? Because he knows of one experience and yours is different you are “unsurprisingly one step ahead” of him. How rude.

        Given your feelings about Jews (and Israel) in general, which I know, I know, you vehemently deny, perhaps it might be reasonable to acknowledge that you are not the best spokesperson for the Moroccan Jewish community.

        ~ Maya
        (GVO, Israel)

        • Maya,

          By “unsurprisingly” I meant that I am of course aware of that blog because my job is to cover the Moroccan blogosphere, and because I already wrote two posts on that blog (which Ck did not see, clearly).

          Second, I have no ill feelings toward Jews. I find it interesting that you would assume so; are you also unable to make the distinction between Jews and Israel?

          Jillian

        • Maya, please read carefully before you put words on people’s mouths. She meant she has just written the article. she did not mean whatsoever to belittle people’s experiences.

          And where exactly did Jillian utters hatred against the Jews? Maya it’s one thing to be critical of people’s political views, but it’s another thing when you accuse them of racism and sectarianism especially when it’s baseless. You should apologize to her. It’s really outrageous that this level of this discussion has gone this low.
          You and Lisa are only good with attacking people because you don’t know how to support and defend your claims.

          That’s just sad.

          • Razan,

            You are right and wrong.

            Jillian, I apologize for implying that you were anti-semitic. It is obvious though that you are anti-Israel, which I am pretty sure is a statement you yourself would agree with. I tried to respond to you to explain how I view the difference between the two, but it got eaten and was a long reply that I didn’t have time to reproduce.

            What you are incorrect about Razan, is that I put words into Jillian’s mouth as far as the “unsurprisingly,” which Jillian then clarified.

            If anyone thinks this post is out of line, visit recent Israel articles for one minute and you will quickly see that the level of civility there is severely lacking– something that all of the Middle East North Africa team needs to work on in general.

            ~ Maya
            (GVO, Israel)

             
        • Since I mysteriously can’t reply to your latest comment, I’ll reply here (system glitch?)

          Maya, I am able to distinguish between Jews and Israel. But I will not support zionism (which I consider to be Jewish extremism), just as I will not support Islamic extremism. Frankly, my experience with Moroccan Jews is that those who stayed behind chose to do so, for whatever reason, and the Moroccan Jewish community in Morocco is, on the whole, anti-zionist. Does that make them anti-semites in your mind? Or is it because I’m a white American and thus expected to blindly support Israel?

    • It’s very typical to see that the only ones who buy Mubarak propaganda are the Zionists. why don’t you follow Egyptian bloggers on twitter and see how many of them realize Mubrak’s Shiaaphobia and declaring their support to Hezbolla? or that you support a dictator regime than Egyptian people’s democratic choice of supporting resistance?

  • Just yesterday i tried to explain Jillian why boycotting backfires most of the times. But this is not the issue.
    Without falling into the Zionist-Palestinian conflict debate trap, the most ironic thing about this foolish boycott is that the Israel’s academic institutes and personal are known for it’s extreme left winged political agenda. Most of the supporters for Palestinian and Israeli-Arabs rights come from the the Israeli academy and the academic institutes are where most peace activists are gathered. the Israeli academy affects most of young Israelis that just finished their military service to look at the conflict in a more criticized point of view. for example, the syllabus of courses i took called “Law and Geographic at Israel” is 90% filled by articles that explain the students about the suppressed rights of Arabs and Palestinians at the north of Israel, our pro-palestinian Prof caused intense and emotional debates, shifting the minds of those just-released-from-duty-soldiers (as me) from a military (no) logic to a more moral and logical point of view.

    Now, arab those bloggers say:”Let’s boycott the only powerful sector in Israel actually help with achieving peace and assist with ending the occupation.” amazing.

    I must say it doesn’t surprise me, at my 6 years of military service at the occupied territories, talking and living among Palestinians, for some bizarre reason, the need for vengeance always beats the logical solutions for ending voilence. Don’t get me wrong- many Israelis suffer from the same problem. The academy is the only place which is able change cultural insticts such as an instinct retaliation by looking for a long term peacefull solution and overcoming the fast and east violent solution.

    Blocking the only non-govermental and non-political international communication between israel and the other countries is a making muck and discrasing the importent part sience and academy have with changing our violent and ingnorant cultures.

    • Effi,

      To be fair, we were discussing a boycott against an American company which was implementing unnecessary “sanctions” (beyond the law) against Syria. My “boycott,” as it were, was in fact effective. Just to be fair, I don’t think that that point is relevant, as I do not participate in all boycotts against Israel.

      Jillian

  • A reader

    The anti-boycott folks are scared because they know the boycott movement has been growing exponentially around the world since the beginning of this year. And probably they are sent out by the Israeli propaganda machine to create noise on the issue so people are convinced away from boycott.

    Just to set the record straight, I believe Lisa was in Lebanon as a journalist for Israeli TV (otherwise known as a spy since that is illegal), and then captured by Hizballah to then be released. Not sure why they released her actually. Maybe Lisa can elaborate.

  • Excellent response, Marcy and Rania.

    Samir and Lisa,
    I believe your definition of \boycott\ is exclusively products-related. Boycotting means a lot of things in many different contexts, in the Arab context, I believe your definition Samir is very common, however in other parts of the world, boycotting Zionism is I believe the right thing to do when dealing with Zionist state, and I think it’s a more sophisticated strategy than merely not buying certain products.

    It’s only a given for me, a person from Syria, to boycott an Israeli product or a pro-Israeli product the ones that Marcy mentioned above.

    But what is more important to me and what has been the norm, contrary to what Lisa is claiming, is that we Arabs are against Arab normalization with Zionist state.
    I am sorry to give you the bad news Lisa, but rare Arabs would deal with Zionist state, and you can find that clearly only by going back to posts published during your country’s war crimes in sieged Gaza.

    Most of Arabs/Arab bloggers felt outraged with your country and while doing so, they never uttered the word \Israel\ but \IsraHell\ or Zionist state. I myself stared using the term Zionist state during the terrorist war on Gaza. And I was for peace and dialogue with Israel, but Gaza changed my mind.

    I am sorry but to say that the consensus among the Arabs not to boycott Zionist state is like saying most Arabs like their leaders. You need to understand, that one of the major reasons peoples in Jordan, Egypt, KSA and Morocco are frustrated with their kings and leaders is exactly because of their normalization policies with the Zionist entity.

    Furthermore, the statement of this campaign is signed by Lebanese professors. Meaning not only students, demonstrators, pro-palestinian coalitions in Lebanon call for boycott of Zionism, but also Lebanese intellectuals. This campaign will pave the way for further Arab campaigns that would call not for economic boycott of Zionism, but of cultural and academic ones as well.

    Boycotting Zionism means boycotting normalization with occupation and apartheid state.
    When we say Zionist state, we mean we believe in one thing, historic Palestine, we will never believe in Israel as an occupation state and as an apartheid state, we will only believe in it in the process of one state solution. Before that, your country will never live in peace. And as for Hezbolla and Hamas, even thought we realize they both have issues concerning their domestic policies, but we will continue to support resistance as long as there is occupation.

    As for GV and Israel or Palestine, I have resigned GV because I think it does not depict the \truth\ as much as they’re trying to appeal to western media agencies. True or wrong, that’s how I personally feel. So I believe that we both feel relatively the same but not quite so. You want GV to appeal to western media agencies like coward BBC; whereas I think it does that all the time on the expense of the truth. In any case, I think GV is trying its best not to be labeled as pro Palestinian, or pro Israeli, and I think that’s a hard thing to do.
    Israeli writers, like the rest of GV writers, are carefully picked according to one of the most important criteria: to be committed to publishing weekly stories, other than that, I don’t think any of the writers here were picked according to their politics; in fact, I resigned precisely because GV is a group of depoliticized people. To me that’s meaningless, hence it’s not my place to be.
    Hence I don’t really think you’re reading GV rightly, GV is not pro or anti anyone, GV doesn’t really care, they publish stories, and whether you like the story or not, it’s a campaign that echoes the norm in the Arab context, in fact, I have not met one single Arab blogger who was against boycotting Israel.

  • Hello all,

    I don’t like the turn this conversation has taken, but I think it helps show what we are working to accomplish at Global Voices is deeply challenging and requires enormous amounts of patience and goodwill between dozens of people of different persuasions and backgrounds.

    I remember reading Lisa Goldman’s own posts on Global Voices before I myself got involved as an editor, and it saddens me to see that relationship develop into such fervent mistrust. I don’t think there is any way to cover this conflict perfectly (certainly not in a manner that will make everyone happy) but we do what we can with limited resources and within the framework we have created for ourselves. Nobody is forced to read Global Voices. But those who do are welcome to make suggestions, volunteer to write posts, and parttake in the community.

    In regards to new authors, I suppose the ideal criteria for a MENA author on Global Voices (Israeli or otherwise) would be an openness to hearing alternative viewpoints, and a strong conviction to thinking the best of fellow co-authors. But we’re all human, and sometimes a delicate balance can be rocked out of place. Sometimes all it takes is a few sparks. Authors like Jillian, Antoun, Maya and many others devote many hours of their time every week to reading and conveying what they see in blogs and citizen media. For that they have my deepest respect and appreciation. We exchange countless emails between us during the week, talking about ideas and sharing links, and that is not something people who want to annihilate or hate one another do voluntarily.

    On that note, I think we have some topics for conversation arising from this exchange that we would do well to discuss internally.

    Thanks to all for your comments,

    Solana

    -Managing Editor

  • Lisa Goldman, I don’t know you, but I am disturbed by your call to stifle writers on Global Voices except for those who agree with your narrow partisan agenda.

    If you didn’t notice, this website is called “Global Voices,” not “Majority Voices,” not “pro-Israel voices” and not “Zionist Voices.” Your comment disagreeing with the content covered by this post is fine, even challenging the premise of the boycott campaign is fine, but the fact that you have to resort to threatening Global Voices by mentioning its advertisers and attacking this blogger makes it clear that you’re more interested in squelching the voices you disagree with than supporting an accurate survey of voices around the world– that seems to be contrary to the mission of Global Voices.

    The post above is fine. It accurately reports what some bloggers have been posting about. Maybe the reason there are no opposing voices mentioned from Lebanon is because the author didn’t see any Lebanese blogs vocally opposing the initiative? There is no endorsement in this post, and it’s rather in line with the conventional format of all Global Voices posts. That is what makes your attempt to smear the author and intimidate Global Voices all the more shocking and objectionable, Lisa.

    I hope you re-consider your position.

    • You are right about one thing, Yaman: you don’t know me.

      I suggest there are no opposing voices from bloggers for two reasons: (a) they don’t read the blogs mentioned in Antoun’s post; and (b) they have better things to do with their lives than write about a pointless boycott.

      • could you please mention a few of those bloggers?
        I think GV will gladly contact them for a comment.

      • Lisa, you’re walking around in circles now. First you said the author of this post was biased, meaning his coverage of what bloggers are saying is unfair. Now you admit that there probably do not exist Lebanese bloggers who have criticized this campaign. As Anas Qteish posted above, I am sure GV bloggers would be happy to cover the other voices… if you can direct them towards some, if they even exist.

        Unfortunately, from afar, it looks like you are criticizing the author of this post for doing his job. You are angry that he did not editorialize against the campaign, as you have done in the comment section. Too bad he cannot satisfy your call for biased writing if he wants to remain fair in his coverage.

  • Jillian – Translation of your comment: you are incapable of engaging in intelligent debate, largely because your opinions are jejune and intellectually indefensible; instead, you take refuge in ad hominem attacks.

    • Actually, Lisa, I stopped commenting to you because an editor asked me to. I could have continued, but Marcy, Razan, Tamara, Yaman, and others have done a better job than I could anyway. All four of them focus strongly on Palestine, whereas I’m still learning. I can admit that.

      That said, it doesn’t take an expert to see that Antoun did his job, focusing on highly read and popular blogs (if I recall, that was your original complaint). It also doesn’t take an expert for me to see that you will keep going for the sake of trying to undermine Global Voices because you have some sort of weird personal agenda. Hence, you are a troll; hence, I am not engaging in further dialogue with you and I’d appreciate it if you stopped rambling on (but I’m sure you have to have the last word, so you know what? go ahead).

  • Reading over this thread it is rather obvious that Solana is right: GV does have some serious issues to discuss internally – for example, a Berkman Center employee who thinks it is acceptable to use juvenile, insulting language and terminology when responding to commenters.

    Given my own experience with GV, however, I expect that this and other issues will be quietly swept under the rug.

    This is a great pity, because GV ex-MENA has such fantastic people – like Neha, Veronica and Eduardo – who do very important work. They don’t deserve to have their credibility undermined because MENA can’t get its act together.

    • What “juvenile” and insulting terminology, Lisa? Please clarify, and be specific.

      You, on the other hand, have called numerous people names in this thread, including Marcy and myself. I have not; the one comment I wrote that was borderline inappropriate (to Ck), I apologized for and clarified.

      Global Voices is its own entity now, by the way. Please keep my workplace out of it.

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