Lebanon’s “Weakness” To Israel

Should this cause national panic?
Disclaimer: I obviously didn’t take this picture nor was I part of the concert.

When the Lebanese judo team at the Olympics found itself within eyesight of the Israeli team, they refused to proceed with their practice. They refused to be seen by the Israelis. They refused to practice with them looking at us. The organizers ended up erecting a separator between both teams.

This isn’t the first time something like this happens.

When a former Lebanese beauty queen had her picture taken with an Israeli contestant at some international pageant, she was sentenced to prison back at home. How could she take that picture? How could she be that disgraceful to her country? How could she be so tactless to all the martyrs that died fighting the big bad zionists?

The picture is not just a picture.

Whenever both countries find themselves within the same competition, such as the Olympics, there’s a constant worry for Lebanese contestants to somehow end up against Israelis. Why so? Because they would be required by some law, I suppose, to forfeit their game and be eliminated – regardless of all the hard work they had put in to get to where they are.

As for the Israelis, they simply don’t care. They proceed as if the Lebanese is like any other nationality: a contestant they want to beat at the sports at hand. And the sad realization is that they always win and it’s always undeserved because of us forfeiting.

When I was in Spain last year, we had a girl with an Israeli flag come up to us and talk with a Lebanese dialect: “fiye etsawwar ma3kon?” (Can I take a picture with you?).

We vehemently refused. I was part of a group and there was a sense of urgency and even slight worry in how my group wanted to leave that place and get away from those Israelis as fast as we could. I remember how my heart raced as I was pushed away as fast as possible from that square in Madrid.

One person from our group looked behind and he saw that Israeli trying to take a picture with us and the Lebanese flag in the background. So he ran over and stopped her. What if that picture ended up on Facebook, that person later said, we’d all face havoc back home.

And it’s precisely that – why is it that WE have to be the ones that forfeit their sports games? Why is that WE have to be the ones to throw a tantrum for being inside the same gym as Israelis? Why is it that WE have to be the ones worrying about being in the same picture with an Israeli flag even if we didn’t mean to? Why is it that WE have to be the ones leaving touristic sites? Why is that WE have to always be on the losing end?

Why is that THEY always win? Why is it that THEY never forfeit? Why is that THEY don’t worry about being in the same gym as us? Why is it that THEY have the audacity to ask for pictures with us without worry? Why is it that THEY get to get us to worry about something so meaningless such as being in the same premises?

It’s simply because if we were in any of those scenarios, we’d end up being labeled as traitors. The problem is entirely psychological – and this is Lebanon’s main weakness towards Israel. We may be able to beat them militarily, albeit with heavy costs. But when it comes to almost everything else, we don’t own up to it and we falter.

It’s not our fault. It’s the fault of the state of governance that instilled this fear in us. The fear of them and the fear of retribution back home. Is this fear justified? Should we really always worry if an Israeli spoke to us on Facebook or Twitter or any form of platform?

Did you even know that they are closely observing us and making studies out of our social media behavior? Why are they so unfazed by us?

The law tells us yes. Don’t do it. Don’t address them. Don’t talk to them. Don’t get near them. The law tells me to stay away from anyone like that when I go to France next week.

But I have to ask – wouldn’t it be great, for instance, if the Lebanese judo team – instead of forfeiting – kicked those Israeli’s asses and won fair and square? Wouldn’t it be great if we were able to tell those Israelis a few words in a political debate that would put them where they belonged?

Wouldn’t we feel pride and maybe lift our heads a little higher instead of always having our tail between our legs as we walk away from metaphoric battles?

I quote J.K. Rowling who said: “Fear of a name only increases fear of the thing itself.” And when it comes to Israel, this is the perfect sum up of our situation as Lebanese. Isn’t this the time to stop being afraid?

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45 thoughts on “Lebanon’s “Weakness” To Israel

  1. OK, so there’s history between the two countries… We’ll all be dead and buried before they ever get over this… Politics don’t belong on the International Sporting Stage… Seriously, get the f*** over it…

    The matchups are on Next Tuesday, the only way they’ll verse each other is if they both make the final… and guess what… I’m pretty sure if that did happen, it’ll be an Israeli win BY F***IN FORFEIT!!!

    Reply
    • The point is not only about this specific incidence. What if this Chammas person ended up against that Israeli? What would she have done?
      She would have forfeited and we would have lost.

      Reply
  2. Dude you’re talking irrelevant stuff based on some personal encounters and other socio-political events.. I don’t want to make an argument or even a debate out of this because it’s not my theme but you have to realise one basic realistic fact.. Israel has never been a country in the first place to be treated in all occasions and events as one.. And we should never make the attempt to treat them as one also.. As for non Israeli Jews in Europe or the States or any other place, these are eventually people just like us so no harm in interacting and even making friends with them but again I say, Israel is not a nation, a country or a society to be treated as one..

    Reply
    • It’s not all personal encounters. How many times has Lebanon forfeited a sports game just because we ended up against Israelis? How many people have gotten into trouble just because they had a picture taken with an Israeli?

      Country or no country, we are on the losing end when it comes to the topic at hand and no amount of political rational will change that.

      Reply
      • It’s not because we’re scared of the idea of going against Israel, nor because stupid politics, politicians and political laws in Lebanon prevent that and yet allow agents and traitors to deal with them under the penalty of being imprisoned up to 1 year maximum. It’s because of a concept, a belief and a history full of tragedy, violence and murder.. I personally don’t think that we should treat the Israeli’s as regular human beings and we don’t have to go deep in analysing why.. And again I say, Jews are my brothers and sisters in humanity..
        Elie have you heard or watched the Lebanese English guy in the heavy weight martial arts fight against an Israeli English guy? It was a title fight for the championship.. And he knocked the shit out of him.. Well he chose not to back down, while others chose to..

        Reply
        • The problem with history, Issa, is that it goes all ways. Many parts of the Lebanese society were murdered and violated by many different countries.
          I wrote before about how the Syrian occupation of the country is at least as bad as the Israeli one. And yet people don’t care. We have no problem playing against the Syrians who killed us. We have no problem letting the Syrians bomb our land, which is happening daily.

          On the other hand we also have no problem with the Turks although they’ve done to the Armenians way worse things than both the Syrians and the Israelis have done to us. And we have no problem striking business deals with Turkey.

          The history of tragedy is not one that’s relevant to one subgroup of the Lebanese society. If you believe that not playing against Israel in any form of sports means that you are not recognizing the state, then I have to ask: what good is that bringing you?
          Didn’t you feel good – for instance – when that Lebanese boxer beat the Israeli one? (Although to observers both were English). And that’s precisely the point.

          Moreover, I think when it comes to the recognition of Israel, we (as country and some political groups) go into direct negotiations with them and have done that more than once. I don’t get how that’s any difference in principal.

          Reply
    • You’re the reason why there can’t be peace in this world. Dragging your dirty political laundry into something like the Olympics… you tarnish the spirit that the event represents. We need to round up people like yourself, and well as any Israelis who feel the same way, and send you all to a different planet, so you can shun each other like children as much as you like.

      Reply
      • Actually no he isn’t. The reason there’s no peace is hypocritical superpowers who complain about their economy while bestowing upon either sides of the conflict “aid” worth billions. You can’t blame the people who got killed for their convictions. You need to blame those that got them to where they are.

        Reply
  3. Man.. Our issue here is Israel, if it was about the Syrian dictatorship, criminality and abduction or about Turkish massacres and abusiveness I would have went to that subject.. We’re mixing between lots of stuff and talking about issues that cannot be summarized in the size of our paragraphs.

    I haven’t mention anything about Lebanese subgroups and you have to know that I’m concerned in everything that happens to every single Lebanese citizen and what hurts them hurts me, no matter who they are or what their religion is, I personally have suffered from both the Syrians and the Israeli’s.. I’ve been hit, partially tortured and heard words that infringed my family and beloved ones, yet stood still and could do nothing about it..

    Back to my main subject.. Again and again I say my friend, the Jews as individuals are my Brothers and Sisters, for Christ Sakes I’ll marry a Jew “if she was hot enough”, I have no problem with that. But the fact that Israeli’s claim they have a country and kill people because of that false belief is what plays on my nerves and again they go to Olympics under the name of a country called Israel (Hypocrisy).
    Despite what the Syrians and Turks have done and committed (don’t even think that I don’t care about what they did, they are parts of my daily debates, “Ottomans and Syrians”) they still have a country that basically belonged to them and when they head to the Olympics they are playing under the name of their countries and we are used to social interaction with their citizens, I guess that is why we have no problem on going against/with them in sports and other certain things.

    I don’t deny that you have a realistic point of view but this is how things unfortunately are.

    Reply
    • I guess where we differ is that how Israel came to be is of little relevance to me when it comes to the issue at hand. When it comes to other topics, of course it’s relevant.
      Which means that, to me at least, the Turkish/Syrian/Israeli deal is basically the same. Playing with one and not the other means we are putting the suffering of some over others. And it’s basically the way things have always been in this country, regardless of whose suffering we put above the other. We’re always not on the same level.

      Reply
      • Yes, sadly we’re always not on the same level.. And we’re still mixing things in a way that makes it hard for all to get along.

        The French have mandated us for 20 years, they have killed some of our finest men, the Americans killed some of us too, the Russians as well.. Most of the modern world countries have contributed in killing a Lebanese citizen during the past 60-70 years.. Let’s not go to the Olympics in the first place and stick home..

        Reply
        • Well the point about the Olympics is to overcome these things for the few weeks they are held every 4 years. Thank you for your comments by the way. I appreciate conversations where a level-head can be kept.

          Reply
  4. The whole story was a complete lie… The lebanese team were contacted about this, they said they never had any sort of contact with the israeli team and they have no idea about the whole story. They explained each team gets their own practice gym so no one knows the tactics of the other team.. (Definitely no need for curtains or whatever the israeli said the Lebanese asked for)

    The whole point of the story (made up by the israeli) was to get more media coverage for the israeli athlete…

    Which is Pathetic… But also not new to them attention striving idiots.

    That said.. I now address the author of this post, who I’m sure and with a little bit of thinking wouldve been able to answer the questions he asked..

    Why us you asked?
    Why do we forfeit.. Very legitimate question..
    The answer is so simple only if you give yourself a tiny moment to think..
    why don’t they forfeit you asked?
    Here is the answer for both questions in the simplest of ways..

    They, “israelis” know that their country is not theirs.. They know their history.. They know they’re immigrants.. They know they killed and massacred and raped and stole to get where they are now..
    Have you ever heard of palestine mr?
    Well let me put it this way, There is NO israel, there is only palestine.
    They won’t forfeit, because they strive any sort of recognition.. Anything that would make them feel real and legitimate… We forfeit so we don’t give them that pleasure, so we always remind them of the ir true criminal and terrorist identity.. Lebanese do not need approval from anyone.. They do..

    Finally, you said that they don’t care… They do care.. More than you can imagine… In Beijing 2008 an iranian athlete forfeited the gold medal match to an israeli although he was 100-1 favorite to win…

    Its true the israeli won the gold medal… But he won it by forfeit… He didn’t even get the chance to prove he earned it.. and when he thinks about it.. He blames his country.. So please don’t tell me they don’t care… Trust me.. They do or else you wouldn’t find them talking about it… They hate it.. As much as we LOVE doing it..

    P.s: you should probably check your sources better next time, it’ll save you the embarrassment of writing a peace nobel prize deserving post

    Reply
    • The whole idea doesn’t rest on the judo team. It was only a story and, whether true or not (elnashra is not the most reliable of sources) doesn’t change any of the other points I brought forward later.

      Your whole argument about Israel massacring its way into a nation and whatnot is answers in another comment of mine above. I suggest you read that. Enough with the nauseating hypocrisy about massacres.

      You say the Israelis care about not getting played? Well they are the ones with the goal medals and we are the ones “proud” of forfeiting. You think what we’re doing is something to be proud of, I think playing and beating them is something to be prouder of.

      Perhaps before you ask me to check my sources you should probably judge the entire post and not one point whose source is different from yours.

      Reply
  5. I’m reading all these comments and I cannot help but wonder exactly how some people missed the entire point.

    Great post Elie, as always.

    Reply
  6. the photo alone is a disgrace… Your comment about it making a national panic is worse…

    I am sure you could’ve used a different one, maybe then people won’t miss the “entire point”

    Reply
    • How about you google Lebanon + Israel flag and look at the images results?
      As for the turned up degree of patriotism, well good for you. You were hurt by the Israelis, I was hurt by other people. The day my country starts recognizing my occupation the same way it does yours, I’ll panic over this issue.
      The picture is a disgrace? Please. It’s only a disgrace when you make it out to be and consequently the whole point gets missed again.

      Reply
      • “You were hurt by the Israelis, I was hurt by other people. The day my country starts recognizing my occupation the same way it does yours, I’ll panic over this issue.”

        that is a disgusting comment… It’s all I have to say for you… I’m no longer interested in having a conversation with someone this low…

        Reply
        • I’m actually surprised you thought what we were having can be called a discussion. The way I see it, it was you being over emotional, over zealous, over indulgent and – by the looks of it – without any sets of arguments apart from the latter.

          What I said was low? You know what’s low? It’s actually you thinking it is just because you can’t say anything about it.

          I’m a low person? Well, simply put – you are the one who wants laws apparently that would limit my freedom of speech just because I disagree with you (I have friends on Twitter too). I guess we have different opinions as to who’s low. And you know what, many people agree with me and not you including friends who have been hurt by Israel way more than you and whose villages are on the border and who, surprise surprise, are pro-resistance too. Perhaps they are low too.

          But you see, when someone is as blinded as you and some of your people, it’s very hard to see anything else. It’s actually better not to have a conversation with someone as downright silly and patronizing and hypocritical.

          You can go be “PROUD” and “LOVING” it all you want. Just take your crap somewhere else.

          Reply
      • you have friends on twitter? 😛 lol don’t you think i knew that? I know all your “friends” & that’s exactly why I chose to reply there, so more people would know about this stupid post… so i kinda made you a favor here 😉

        that said, commenting on your own blog post using different fake names (chris, lara, issa, Josh:P) but the same IP address isnt something a professional blogger should be doing, just to give the impression that his posts are read… In fact that is so PATHETIC..

        finally, yes ima take my crap elsewhere cause this is not even a place that deserves it… You and “yourselves” should refrain from being unnecessary impolite and rude to people..

        And hey.. try not to say that you don’t do it… (commenting on your posts) because then you’ll force me into stuff i hate doing.. ask your “friend” bloggerseif.. am sure he could be much help and advise you in that area…

        Reply
  7. Ye3ne ba3d na2es that janbein commentator to call you a traitor. It would bring things full circle. And also tfeh.
    That picture is a disgrace? What’s a disgrace is when a “3amil” gets 1 year of prison time just because he’s friends with the Israel-fighting crowd. But hey, disgrace is a disgrace.
    Let’s call everything disgraces.
    I find it a disgrace that someone’s opinion – and it’s one that doesn’t even touch upon the occupation and whatnot – is dealt with by some this way.

    Reply
    • I didn’t call him a traitor.. rather a lost soul.. But I’m glad that is what you thought, I’m sure you’re not alone.
      To answer the 2nd part however, a traitor should be hanged, IN PUBLIC 🙂
      screw hezbollah, FPM, LF, FM and everybody else…

      Reply
      • Not really. I don’t think he’s a traitor. I think this is a great piece and I think those who think he’s a lost cause or a traitor are downright despicable. What’s worrying is you thinking some people would think of him as a traitor and then traitors should be hanged “IN PUBLIC.”
        So I understand you want the writer of this post to be hanged IN PUBLIC? Bhannik 3anjad. Tfeh.

        Reply
        • stop saying tfeh at the end of every comment you make… you called him traitor not me… and yes a traitor should be hanged in public… i dont think the author is a traitor.. hes just encouraging treason

          Reply
  8. why the paranoia? In my MBA program us Lebanese mixed with the Israelis in the program all the time, and even became friends. Tell General Security to shove that up their ass!

    Reply
  9. I’m Shiite. From the South. And some of these comments are downright disgusting. Who are we to call a traitor someone who apparently disagrees on the way to deal with an enemy state rather than it being an enemy state to begin with?

    Great piece Elie. It’s your take on the issue and I respect it. And for the record, I would defend your right to say it. And as you know, I always agree with your argument about the Syrian occupation.

    Reply
    • I am not sure why you started this comment by identifying your sect. Not only Shias consider Israelis to be their enemies. I am a sunni from Beirut, and it saddens me to see the picture (joining the two flags) posted, you need to bear in mind that some people would get offended by such pictures, freedom of speech is not an excuse to hurt people in such a diverse country. Oh welp, to everyone who’s pissed about it, that’s the way lebanon is, some athletes just don’t want to be around Israelis, it’s not always because of the ‘fear from the consequences’.. What you said, well implicitly, is that all the lebs would just love to take pictures with israeli flags, but the authorities have strict rules against that, and that’s just plain wrong. Maybe Elie doesn’t consider the Israelis to be an enemy, but you need to take into consideration that not less than 50 percent of the Lebanese population do. Not less than 50 percent refuse to even admit that it’s a country.. Live with it, that’s not changing any time soon. You can blog about it as much as you want. Or you can always migrate to some european city, I’m sure you can mingle there as much as you want. This country is over populated anyway

      Reply
      • Sadly enough saying you’re Shiite gives you “street cred” when it comes to these things. It’s the way things are, unfortunately.

        I don’t think the point was that they want to be and they’re not allowed. They may not want to be around Israelis and that’s fine. The simplest example is: look at the comments – Elie basically said: what if? And some people alluded to him being a traitor. Is that even remotely acceptable? Did he fraternize with Israelis with matters of national security?

        Some people are offended by the joining of the Lebanese and Syrian flag. And yet we seem not to have a problem with it. Some people are offended by the joining of the Lebanese and Turkish flags. Yet we don’t have a problem with it.
        Just because someone finds something offensive doesn’t mean that thing is wrong.

        I don’t like the picture here either. But as Elie said in an above comment, you can get through a simple google search. The person who provided the Lebanese flag could not even be Lebanese for all I care. But for a picture to elicit such a response is unacceptable.

        And I would say those who are pissed here aren’t the likes of Elie.

        Reply
      • How did you conclude from this that I might not consider Israel an enemy, I have no idea.
        I think Israel is an enemy. But not the only enemy. We have others. And when we acknowledge that fact, we can actually get somewhere.

        As Ahmad said, I am personally offended when some people go about to express eternal gratitude towards Syria. And yet you don’t see me panic whenever they do so. Maybe it’s high time other people learn to do the same.

        Reply
      • The difference between the Syrians and the Israelis is that Syria is recognized to be a country by all Lebs, whether you like/hate syria, we all recognize it as a sovereign state. Whereas the Israelis were forced on us, it is a ‘country’ that has been established by force less than 100 years ago. When I see a lebanese holding the israeli flag like that, it only means that he admits its sovereignty.. and after all what the israelis did to lebanon, it is sad to see such a picture.. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Lebanese flag with the turkish, syrian, Indian, chinese, saudi or iranian flag.. Because to me, these are countries and not some entities that have been forced on a certain land.

        Oh and I didn’t conclude that you might not consider the Israelis to be enemies… Considering your political affiliation, it is likely that you don’t to be honest. And I am not just uttering words just to do so, I am talking from personal experiences here, I have many friends who are committed members of the lebanese forces, i have met or talked to not less than 15 guys/gals who are LF members/supports.. and not less than 10 of those did tell me that they don’t mind the israelis and they don’t really consider them to be enemies at all. The rest showed nothing but indifference towards them. So yea, you might not consider them to be enemies as well. I am not saying that you don’t, all i said is that you might not, so don’t take it personally

        Reply
      • @Smurf
        “I wouldn’t mind seeing the Lebanese flag with the turkish, syrian, Indian, chinese, saudi or iranian flag.. Because to me, these are countries and not some entities that have been forced on a certain land.”

        Really ? Let’s take a look at history. 1. Most of Turkey is actually annexed Greece (and a little part of Syria). 2. Syria, untill very recently, did not recognise Lebanon as a state and was at one point vocal about wanting to annex it. 3. The People’s Republic of China was established through force, a civil war and annexed most of the land of the Republic of China, without the support of the majority of the population. I could go on and on.

        What you are saying about Israel isn’t a valid reason to boycott it because, according to your logic, you would have to boycott pretty much all countries (including Canada, the United States, Australia, most of Europe….). You’re clearly criticising Israel because this is what you were taught to do; instead of opposing it because of its current policies, and its distructive behaviour. For the international population, and non-biaised people, Israel is not legitimate because of the current occupation, not because of events that were caused by now dead people.
        (in before someone calls me a kheyen)

        Reply
      • @Pieter
        Nope, I simply don’t know the history of china and turkey, for I am not fazed by these countries in any way. It’s not the same with our southern neighbors. Witnessing their massacres, violent behavior, use of internationally banned weapons.. etc.. made me curious about their history, which wasn’t hard to sum up and read since the ‘country’ was formed in 1948. And no, I don’t base my opinion on only what their ancestors did, and nope, I did not choose to dislike the israelis because I was taught to. I watch all sorts of news, read all kinds of reports and I am very well informed. so you can be sure I am not just a random bandwagoner who likes to blabber on blogs

        Reply
  10. And it’s precisely that – why is it that WE have to be the ones that forfeit their sports games? Why is that WE have to be the ones to throw a tantrum for being inside the same gym as Israelis? Why is it that WE have to be the ones worrying about being in the same picture with an Israeli flag even if we didn’t mean to? Why is it that WE have to be the ones leaving touristic sites? Why is that WE have to always be on the losing end?

    هيدا لأنا شعب معقد

    Reply
  11. Pingback: Welcome To The Republic of Cheap Controversy « A Separate State of Mind | A Lebanese Blog

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