Is BDS Cultural Terrorism?

Lebanon's BDS (Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions) movement expressed their outrage to author Amin Maalouf for making an appearance on an Israeli TV show, and says that cultural exchange is needed for peace. The ever-so bigoted "Stop Cultural Terrorism in Lebanon" said that he was "under BDS attack". Under attack? Really? Did Lebanon’s BDS movement harass him? Was the famous author put in any sort of physical harm? No. They just expressed their outrage verbally and asked him to apologize. Whether or not he agrees isn’t the problem; it’s the idea that verbal criticism and condemnation is considered cultural terrorism.

Lebanon endured a brutal Israeli occupation from 1982 until 2000. Israel’s had plenty of military campaigns in Lebanon, as recently as 2006, where 1191 civilians died and around one million were displaced. Many still die by accidentally stepping on mines from the occupation or undetonated cluster bombs that Israel dropped in 2006 after a ceasefire was agreed.

Israel still violates Lebanese sovereignty to this day, often crossing its borders for 'drills', and flying over Lebanese airspace with those planes that break the sound barrier. As recently as June 7, 2016, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu even asked Russian President Vladimir Putin to permit their military aircraft to fly over Lebanese (and Syrian) airspace.

Al in all, Amin Maalouf naively simplified a very political issue that destroyed the lives of many families into something trivial and belittling to those who suffered. Therefore, it’s expected that people are going to get upset when he openly advocates a solution that states that it’s just matter of people singing and dancing together.

So what's the problem, Stop Cultural Terrorism? Is freedom of expression only championed when it fits your racist and Islamophobic agenda? When Charlie Hebdo’s journalists were attacked, they proudly waved the Je Suis Charlie flag. On the flip-side, when people verbally condemned the actions of an individual using their basic right to free speech, they labeled it cultural terrorism.

Beirut Syndrome spoke briefly about the BDS movement in Lebanon after they launched an app to help consumers boycott goods at grocery stores, and announced a petition signed by Lebanese academics and artists.