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Apr 27, 2023
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Lebanese Politician Omar Harfouch Responds To Criticism For Speaking At A Symposium Attended By Israelis: It Is Unreasonable And Antisemitic To Boycott Encounters With Israelis Abroad – We Must Stop This

#10258 | 02:28
Source: OTV (Lebanon)

On an April 27, 2023 show that was posted online by OTV (Lebanon), Lebanese politician Omar Harfouch responded to criticism against him for having spoken at a European Parliament symposium which was attended by several Israelis. He said that it is unreasonable and antisemitic to expect him to inquire whether each person he meets abroad is Jewish or Israeli, and he said that in France, where he lives, and elsewhere in Europe, he would even be susceptible to criminal charges for such inquiries. He also said that the Lebanese boycott of meetings with Israelis must be stopped and that now that there are many Israelis in the Gulf States, the boycott has become exceedingly unreasonable.

Omar Harfouch: "Three weeks ago, I participated in a symposium about the war on terror and the financing of terrorism. I was proud that I was invited to this symposium in the European Parliament. Many Lebanese saw my speech, and thanked me for being the first Lebanese with enough courage to accuse the Europeans of their part in financing terrorism. You can watch it today. It is on the internet.

"But all of a sudden, someone – I don't know who – decided there had been Israelis in the hall. It turned into an issue, and I was accused of collaborating with Israelis and the Israeli lobby, and they wanted to take me for interrogation as soon as I landed at the airport.

"I don't care who was in the hall – whether they were from Israel, from New Zealand, or from Australia. I want to deliver the voice of truth and justice to any place possible. I wasn't at a restaurant or a hotel. I was at the heart of the EU, and was talking to members of the European Parliament.

"Let me tell you, and I said this in interviews, I will not inquire about any person's nationality. I will not ask anyone whether he is Jewish or Israeli, because international law, and the law in France, where I live, forbids me from asking this. If I asked someone talking to me whether he is Israeli, he could file a suit against me. He would say: Why did he suspect that I was Israeli? Is it because of my family name? Is it because of the way I look? My accent? This falls squarely under the law forbidding antisemitism. I would be antisemitic to the point that I suspected him because his name or the way he looks indicated that he was Jewish, and I asked him whether he was Jewish in order to find out whether he is an Israeli citizen.

"For that, I would be put on trial for antisemitism, in France and all over Europe, because my Lebanese country, whose passport I hold, forbids me from meeting with Israelis. We should put an end to this. There are 15 million Lebanese living all over the world, and they cannot ask every person they meet every day whether or not he is Israeli. See the Lebanese living in the Gulf. Today, there are Israelis in the Gulf – in the UAE, in Dubai – what should they do if their boss at work turns out to be an Israeli? Should they resign, abandon their children, and return to Lebanon? This must come to an end."


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