This year, enjoy the Baalbek festival with a curfew against Syrian refugees.

Yesterday, Monday 11th of July 2016, the state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the governor of the Baalbek-Hermel governorate, Bashir Khodor, will enforce a new strengthened curfew for Syrians in the district, from 6PM to 6AM, instead of 8PM to 6AM. The governor said the curfew was to be strengthened during the Baalbek Festival, an annual and renowned festival held in the town. Few hours later, the governor denied it and said that the curfew will remain as it is. No official statement or paper show the reversal of the decision.

Racism in Lebanon isn’t a new story. For decades the Lebanese state institutional racism has limited and restricted the rights of Palestinian refugees, and it is now scapegoating the totality of Syrian refugees in Lebanon for so-called security. The curfew imposed on Syrians in Lebanon isn’t new, dozens of municipalities, as Aley, enforced it since 2013. But it is the first time that an entire muhafaza, or governorate, imposes a curfew.

The curfew was imposed after many suicide attacks targeted the small town of Qaa, which is close to the Syrian border. The police found out that the bombers of Syrian nationalities all came from Syria.

The restriction on movement is inhumane and unjustified, and it is reminiscent on the Zionist regime restriction on the movement of Palestinians. Artists who are performing this year in the festival must boycott the festival until an official statement from the governor lifts the tightening of the curfew.

Sign the following petition by clicking here.

Petition in full.

On Monday, July 11th, 2016, Lebanon’s state-run National News Agency (NNA) reported that the Baalbek-Hermel governorate will impose a curfew for Syrian refugees from 6 PM to 6 AM during the upcoming annual Baalbek International Festival, which takes place from Friday, July 22, 2016 until August, 28, 2016.

While Governor Bashir Khoder verbally denied extending the existing refugee curfew, no official statements have been passed by the Baalbek-Hermel governorate indicating that the NNA reported false news.

Many areas in East Lebanon have already imposed tight curfews on Syrian refugees, and more have been imposed after the recent attacks in the village of Al-Qaa, where 7 suicide attacks took place in late June, murdering 5 and wounding 28 others. While Governor Khoder and the Baalbek-Hermel governorate may consider the massacre in Al Qaa and recent threats around the country to be reference points, the Lebanese Internal Security Forces confirmed that the attackers were not refugees or among them; in fact, they came through the Lebanese-Syrian border.

This is a form of collective punishment and a racist policy to implement on people who are fleeing from such atrocities. We believe that these values do not reflect Baalbek International Festival and their performers.

Therefore, we call on the Baalbek-Hermel Governorate to release an official statement denying the curfews, or to reverse them.

We also call on the this year’s performers to cancel their performances unless these policies are lifted. This year’s performers are the following:

Caracalla Dance Theater – Saturday, July 23

Jean Michel Jarre – Saturday, July 30

Mika – Thursday, August 4

Bob James Quartet – Friday, August 12

Abeer Nehme – Friday, August 19

Lisa Simone – Sunday, August 21

Shereen Abdel Wahab – Friday, August 26

Jose Van Dam Meets Carlos Gardel – Sunday, August 28

We also call on ticket-holders and potential ticket-holders to stand on the side of human rights, justice, and dignity, and boycott Baalbek International Festival 2016 unless these unfair curfews stop taking place.

 

 

Your next #BDS target : American Eagle.

This week, it has been reported that Netanyahu received 90% of his last 3 campaign money from US donors,  Buzzfeed, the first publisher of these facts, linked the families with their businesses.

Here’s an excerpt.

Closely following them were the Book family of New Jersey, owners of Jet Support Systems, with four members each contributing $11,000 each, and the Schottenstein family, owners of the American Eagle fashion chain, whose four members donated $10,000 each.

American Eagle is present worldwide and in Lebanon.

It means that our Lebanese pounds directly go to the Shottenstein family pockets. (or through royalties) This money goes back to Netanyahu campaigns, and he doesn’t even have to ask !

“He doesn’t even have to ask and they give,” said one Likud Party campaign adviser, who asked not be named as he was not approved to speak to the media. “Their pocketbooks are always open for Netanyahu.”

For those who don’t know, Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, has in less than 3 years, launched two wars against the already blockaded Gaza. By War I mean indiscriminate areal bombings against civilians, notably during his last war “Protective Edge” where his “brave” democratic army managed to slaughter 500 children.

Should we wait for Netanyahu to launch a war against Lebanon to start boycotting those brands ? Or should we, as citizens of conscience and ethics, fight peacefully against the Israel apartheid ?

I have seen a reaction on Twitter : the person claimed that we should not care about American Eagle, their income wouldn’t shrink considering their worldwide presence, and oh, we should first elect a president ! I don’t know if he has a list of “to-do’s” where he must first checked off the election of a Lebanese president and after that, stand against the vile Netanyahu ?

BDS arms destroying the chains of Apartheid, represented by the West Bank Wall. Courtesy of Latuff.

I guess he thinks that the boycott and BDS mouvement don’t work, but he is very wrong. He must read this list that show explicit advances against Apartheid in Israel for 2014. Here’s the link.

I have also written a call for the boycott of three other active firms in Lebanon, HP, Caterpillar, and Re/Max, the latter is a world-wide real estate company that sell exclusively for Jews in East Jerusalem, illegally occupied since 1967.

I hope American Eagle will at least lose revenues in Lebanon.

Why should Lebanon boycott HP, Caterpillar and Re/Max.

How do you combat Israeli Apartheid peacefully ? How can you help Palestinians inside and outside of Palestine grasp a bit of hope for their future ? Boycott. Divest. Sanction. BDS.

I won’t speak about Starbucks, McDonald’s, Pepsi, this rock band that will probably go to Israel. I will speak about brands that directly helps the illegal occupation of the West Bank.

It is important that citizens of conscience, before boycotting a product or a brand they have a doubt about, search for themselves the true reason and repercussion of buying this product. And I don’t mean follow untrusted or doubtful links on the internet. There are NGO’s who could advice you whether you should boycott a product and reveal its true and direct repercussion on the lives of millions of Palestinians.
The Most prominent of them is of course is the BDS movement. There is also whoprofits.org

Who Profits from the Occupation is a research center dedicated to exposing the commercial involvement of Israeli and international companies in the continued Israeli control over Palestinian and Syrian land.

It is important to not just follow rumours or conspiracy theories before boycotting something. If something caught our attention, we should research it, and in the era of fast information, research was never easier to do.

The Lebanese government tries its best to ban products that are Israeli or related to Zionism. But these products that seem acceptable should also catch their attention and the attention of every conscious Lebanese.

HP.

HP helps directly with the racist Israeli Apartheid.

Through its subsidiary EDS Israel, HP is the prime contractor of the Basel System, an automated biometric access control system installed and maintained by HP in checkpoints throughout the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt).

HP additionally helps manufacture ID cards with the Israel government that enforces the separation. HP also provides services and technologies to the Israeli Army.
I believe that the common buyer and consumer could totally boycott HP, their computers and printers are totally replaceable.

Caterpillar.

Caterpillar is the world largest manufacturer of mining and construction equipment.

Here’s an excerpt from whoprofits.org

The company’s machines were used for the demolition of Palestinian houses in the occupied Palestinian territories, the construction of settlements, the Separation Wall and settlement infrastructure on Palestinian land, for creating roadblocks, dispersing demonstrations and as weapons.

An extensive report on their involvement with Israeli racist and unjust system is available here.

A 50-ton Caterpillar D9T bulldozer, the type that crushed Rachel Corrie. This and similar Caterpillar models, sold to the Israeli government and used to demolish Palestinian homes, are the target of increasing protests.

If you happen to be in the construction business, boycott Caterpillar and try to disseminate this information.
The Lebanese exclusive provider of Caterpillar products is the Jallad Group. Jallad Group should immediatly stop their business with Caterpillar or the Lebanese government should put pressure on them. How do we Lebanese, victims of Israel harsh wars and massacres, can accept this ?

Re/Max Lebanon.

Re/Max is a Colorado-based real estate firm. It is present in Lebanon and in Israel. In Israel, it has been reported by the Electronic Intifada that it only sells home to Jews in East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem is illegally occupied by Israel since 1967.

Active in the Israeli market since 1995, RE/MAX sells and rents houses and apartments in colonies reserved exclusively for Jews in the occupied West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Much of that work is coordinated in an office that the Israeli subsidiary of RE/MAX runs in Maale Adumim, a major settlement in the West Bank.

I don’t know how Re/Max got past this in Lebanon, but the  revelations are still new. If you plan to buy,sell, or rent a home, use another real estate firm.

I am happy the Lebanese government bans products that come from Israel. But it has to act more vigilantly as firms like HP Caterpillar and Re/Max get easily past their guard.