Political Statements

Political Statement on Welcoming a Zionist Academic into the American University of Beirut

On the third and fourth of September 2018, 2016 Nobel Laureate Sir Fraser Stoddart, Scottish-born chemist, delivered two lectures in AUB. In addition, Stoddart was the guest speaker at this year’s Opening Ceremony. His visit to AUB was highly advertised and publicized by both the Chemistry Department and the AUB administration. 

It was later brought to light that earlier this year, Stoddart presented his academic work in the occupied territories as part of the celebrations for the “70th Birthday of Israel”. His lecture, although scientific, came in a highly politicized context, as Stoddart congratulated the Zionist State “on making it for 70 years with such a spectacular output certainly in the Sciences,” in his opening remarks. While Stoddart and other Zionists worldwide are celebrating the occupation’s 70th birthday, Palestinians look back at 70 years of injustice, displacement, and incessant bloodshed. Starting with the Nakba of 1948, through the 1967 war, the unfair and unfulfilled Oslo Accords agreed upon 25 years ago, the wars on Gaza and the West Bank, up until the recent United States’ cuts in UNRWA funding, the already-dire situation of Palestinians, whether in Palestine or as refugees worldwide, is worsening. 

With the growing tendency to separate academics from politics, any and all scientific “achievements” of the illegitimate state of Israel have come hand in hand with apartheid, war, and human rights violations. The Boycott Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign is gaining momentum in different regions around the world, and has become an integral form of resistance against the Zionist occupation of Palestine. The cultural boycott of the Zionist State, a course of action taken by several universities globally, including some in the United States, England, Germany, France, among other countries, is not being applied by the leading university in the Middle East, AUB. 

The Secular Club condemns the AUB administration’s devaluation of cultural boycott, evident through the presence of Nestle Toll House on campus, the inclusion of Israel as a possible location for a workshop in an email sent by AUB Career Services, and the hosting of Fraser Stoddart. The Secular Club considers the BDS campaign and cultural boycott necessary elements of anti-Zionist activism. In addition, the Secular Club supports civil disobedience movements in Palestine aimed at protesting Zionist policies and believes that the protection of Palestinian refugees and supporting them in the face of the racism they face in different countries, including Lebanon, is a significant step in fighting for the Palestinian cause.

~Political Committee @ AUB Secular Club

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