How A Tweet Launched A Mini Regional Crisis: Mossad Launches #TelAvivLovesBeirut, and Beirut Responds

As part of an article on rising travel destinations, Forbes Magazine listed both Tel Aviv and Beirut as some of the locations that Americans are becoming increasingly interested in visiting. As such, an Israeli investment manager called Mark Leibowitz tweeted in celebrating, inadvertently tagging Beirut.com’s twitter account thinking they were the official representatives of the city.

As such, Beirut.com replied from their twitter account that they wanted to be “excluded from the narrative” echoing the ever wise Taylor Swift circa 2016 with her reply to the Kanye West/Kim Kardashian drama. It’s also a narrative they did not choose to partake in in the first place. What they meant was that they wanted their official twitter account not to be associated with such a thing given they’re not representatives of the city in any way. What Mark Leibowitz understood of it was an act of aggression over the statement he made.

Of course, Beirut.com’s reply was not taken on too kindly by the Israeli twitterverse that responded aplenty:

And, naturally, the Mossad intervened.

Of course, such silly hashtag by one of the world’s leading intelligence agencies regarding a country they’re at war with and have been in active conflict with nearly 11 years ago did not sit well with the Lebanese populace on in Twitter.

It hasn’t been a year yet since these threats were made by Israeli politicians against the Lebanese people:

Some of the Lebanese replies though are as follows:

Another day, another drama.

It’s fortunate that hashtags and Twitter wars remain as online media through which people can vent without actual damage being done, or at least damage in the literal sense of the word of what usually takes place when Lebanon and Israel clash.

It’s immensely silly that the Israeli Mossad tried to brush away years of conflict between the two countries with a hashtag as silly as the one they came up with, or that some of the Israelis responding were not aware there’s more to the conflict between the two countries than what began 71 years ago when their country was founded.

If Tel Aviv truly “loved” Beirut, they would refrain their politicians from launching threats at Beirut whenever they want to give a boost to their political credentials, and own up to their own record of attacking Lebanese civilians, admit to the countless war crimes they’ve committed in Lebanon – and that’s for starters. But of course, watch them blurt out Hezbollah as a response.

I may not support all facets of Lebanese censorship or prosecution when it comes to Israel-related entities, but I cannot also stand and watch my country’s own destruction be washed off under a meme.

 

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Fabian Maamari, Enough With Your Silliness

Behold Fabian Maamari, the Swedish-Lebanese whose Facebook pictures are causing a Lebanese frenzy.

4 days ago, Fabian posted a picture of him between two IDF soldiers with the very – err – sentimental? caption that you can check here.

To sum-up, Fabian met Avi – an Israeli – and the love of his life as he calls him, when he visited Israel last year during Tel Aviv’s yearly Pride parade. He then decided to move to Israel and stay there.

Recently, Fabian went on a vacation to the Israeli side of the Dead Sea where he saw two IDF soldiers roaming around. So because he was “experimental” he came up to them and waited until they made contact. He then made sure they knew he was Lebanese because he wanted to shock them.

 

Those IDF soldiers turned out to have served in Lebanon during the period of Israeli occupation of the South, and maybe even during the July 2006 war. Therefore, Fabian’s knee-jerk reaction was to have all his fears dissolve because the IDF soldiers thought Lebanon was “a beautiful country.”

They were then invited to dinner where Fabian told them the story of how he met his husband, and things quickly turned into sunshine and butterflies and how we should never judge people before we meet them and that Israelis can be nice people too.

Israelis can be good people, sure. I mean, they are just people, and people can be good or bad. Fair enough, a soldier killing a Lebanese does not make all people of that country bad. But it does put a huge question mark on the country that ordered the killing, especially when the death tally on our side is of lives shattered and ruined. Meeting adorable Israelis does not mean foregoing the struggles of Lebanese people with them. It doesn’t mean brushing aside their horrors just because it’s “cool.”

By the same token, there are a lot of bad Lebanese people that make me ashamed of holding the same nationality. A recent example that comes to mind is those employees who beat up two African women just because they were, well, African (link), or how many of us are treating the Syrian refugees.

But this isn’t about giving every single Israeli the benefit of the doubt for being Israeli, Fabian Maamari wants us to give their entire country the benefit of the doubt, and with that I have a problem.

This is not, unlike how some Lebanese media portrayed it, about Fabian Maamari being gay, and being a Lebanese man in love with an Israeli man. This is far from it. Maamari can love whoever he wants, and sleep with whoever he wants, Israeli or otherwise, and I couldn’t care less.

This is also not similar to when Miss Lebanon found herself in a selfie with Miss Israel (link) or when the recurrent debate about how to best handle Israeli presence at international events takes place.

 

I feel like a few reminders are in order for Mr. Maamari, who entered Israel with his Swedish passport, and who has absolutely no reason to be “afraid” when he’s there as a European Union nationalist, not as Lebanese.

These are a few pictures from the recent July War, where Israel killed over 1500 civilians of your country including more than 300 women and children:

And this is the love they gave us then:

 

And these are pictures of the 1996 Qana Massacre where Israel shelled a UN compound filled with children, killing 106.

Where was the love back then?

For every picture that you are posting, Mr. Maamari, of your Israeli adventure, there’s one to parallel it in horrors of what that country has caused us.

For every “awww” moment you’re experiencing when you meet an Israeli who happens to be nice, and you get the shock of his life that they can be nice when you’re dating one of them (I don’t get it?), there’s a Palestinian child drawing his last breath. Have you heard about the recent settler arson that took an infant’s life?

Either way, I see that you noticed how Palestine is separated from you by a wall, but you seem not to have an issue with it:

A picture taken by Fabian, off his blog.

A picture taken by Fabian, off his blog.

Fabian’s reply to those who reminded him of Israel’s atrocities in Lebanon is that he does not entertain blind hate. Yes, because the history of how your other country got killed, decimated, and targeted is blind.

Your people, that is if they are your people, are not filled with hate; they are filled with memories, most of which you lack. The wars you’ve “heard” about, some of us lived first hand (link). Those IDF soldiers you had dinner with probably killed a father or a mother or a child of someone that we may know. That country you’re falling in love with actively killed us and occupied our land for years.

Fabian Maamari, you are allowed to sleep with as many Israelis as you want. You are allowed to fall in love with as many Israelis as you want, and by all means have dinner with as many IDF soldiers as you want. You are allowed to be happy you went viral for your “boundaries-transcending” love affair as much as you want. But there’s a limit to how love-struck you can be.