French-Lebanese academic under fire for Israeli TV appearance

French-Lebanese academic under fire for Israeli TV appearance

Lebanese-born author Amin Maalouf has been accused of "normalising relations with Israel" after he recently spoke to Israeli media.

2 min read
10 Jun, 2016
The Lebanese branch of the BDS movement has demanded an apology from Maalouf [Twitter]
A leading French-Lebanese author and journalist has come under fire after he gave an interview to an Israeli news channel.

Amin Maalouf spoke to the French-language i24news from Paris last Thursday about his work at the French Academy and the role of culture in promoting cross-cultural dialogue.

The Lebanese branch of the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement [BDS] issued a scathing statement in response to the interview.

"A quick search about this TV channel reveals that it was founded by Patrick Drahi, the owner of Hot, an Israeli cable communications company, and the richest man in the Zionist entity, according to reports," the Arabic-language statement read.

"If Maalouf did not understand the identity of the station, he ought to apologise for his mistake to the Palestinian and the Lebanese people, and to the entire Arab nation," it added.

Many social media users in the Arab world have also condemned the academic.

Translation: "When an intellectual betrays you; the lessons and morals you learned from their works betray you. Amin Maalouf has destroyed the dream I had of an author from my country."

The Lebanese press has also called on Maalouf to make a formal apology for the TV appearance.

"We demand that Maalouf apologise for this blunder, even though we know he will not because it goes against his interests and priorities," wrote Lebanese columnist Pierre Abi-Saab.

Others on social media did not see what the all the fuss was about.

Translation: "Boycotting a writer because they have disappointed you politically is like boycotting a baker because your car broke down! The mix up of morals and personal opinion with Maalouf is extremely disgusting."

Maalouf was born in Beirut in 1949 and moved to France in 1976, where he continued his career, winning several prestigious literary awards.