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Sayyed Nasrallah Answers Questions about the Boycott

Sayyed Nasrallah Answers Questions about the Boycott
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Al-Ahed News Website

The call by Hezbollah's Secretary General His Eminence Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah to boycott American goods sparked widespread debate in Lebanon.

In a speech commemorating the group’s martyred leaders, Sayyed Nasrallah pointed out that the boycott is a weapon. He called for its activation as part of "a comprehensive, diverse and multiple resistance front in the face of the Great Satan and the tyrannical, oppressive American arrogance."

In a country where disease, epidemics and natural disasters become part of the political wrangling, the call for the boycott caused quite a stir.

The responses that followed Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech can be classified into three categories. The first came from U.S. allies in Lebanon. This camp is in the habit of spitting out absurdities and mocking any idea from Sayyed Nasrallah. With this pattern in mind, it’s no surprise that these people perceive the boycott as insignificant – as insignificant as their intellect. So, they deliberately ridiculed the call and claimed that the U.S. and its products are an indispensable feature of the nation.

The second category is made up of those who received the call with enthusiasm and took to social media to promote the boycott and theorize about it.

The third category had legitimate questions, including “How do we boycott?”, “What is the desired goal of the boycott?”, “How can we affect the American economy given its size?”, and “How can we abandon basic Americans products with no alternative?".

Regardless of the backgrounds of those wondering about the goals of the boycott, its feasibility and the ability to implement it, we must recall that Sayyed Nasrallah’s call was not the first of its kind. Rather it was a reminder of what he had already planted in the Arab consciousness in recent years.

Since at least 2003, Sayyed has been a theoretician of the boycott. During his participation in a conference on boycotting American and Zionist goods that was held in Damascus that year, Sayyed Nasrallah’s speech addressed questions many people are asking today.

We used excerpts from that speech to answer some theoretical questions.

1 - Where did the idea of boycotting American goods originate from?

“It is unnatural for you to be holding a weapon and throw it at the beginning of the battle or not use it until the end when you need to use it. Even when the Americans want to antagonize a country, they besiege it and boycott it. They put pressure on the countries of the world to boycott its products and to boycott it politically, diplomatically, through the media and so on. This is a legitimate, well-known and natural weapon. When we as a nation resort to this weapon today, we are resorting to an obvious technique that does not need discussion or reasoning.

“Since this point was unveiled, it was the blessed intifada in Palestine that prompted the nation to adopt a slogan or an option of this kind. There have been many discussions during conferences, on satellite TV, and in various media outlets about the feasibility of this option. 

“America is the one beating the drums of war and raising the banner of war. Isn’t this enough to classify the US administration and its forces as the enemy? It does not matter how much we avoid confrontation. Today, we are in a confrontation with the American aggression whether we like it or not. We will find ourselves in the arena of confrontation. We are not the ones who started the war or will start it. They will impose it on this nation. Hence, they are the ones coming, and we are not the ones going.”

2 - Has the idea of boycotting American goods entered domestic politics?

"Thinking about this point from the standpoint of certain internal crises is what leads some loyal friends to be suspicious of the situation. Dealing with the American attack on the nation from our problems and our internal calculations is what throws us into deadly strategic dangers. We must understand that we are facing a different battle and arena. This conflict has different calculations, results and goals. And therefore, all our problems and crises must be overcome.”

3 - What is the desired benefit of the boycott?

"The question regarding feasibility is always being raised similar to what happened with the issue of the resistance in Lebanon and the issue of the intifada. Since 1982, it was said that resisting was a crazy, boyish and unrealistic option. Recent years and months have seen discussions about the feasibility of the resistance.           And I remember after Ehud Barak promised to withdraw from Lebanon on July 7 while the resistance continued its operations, some people said: ‘What is the use of these operations? The man committed to withdrawing, and we must save these sacrifices and this blood until the withdrawal is achieved!’ When some discuss feasibility, they always look at negatives while downplaying the positives.

“In the face of the multidimensional invasion project, we must use all weapons at our disposal, and it is wrong to say that the boycott weapon is useless, its affect is limited, and it does not work.

“The lack of feasibility of using a weapon in any square and field is not a justification for abandoning it, especially when it comes to the economic boycott. If we do not boycott, this means that we are contributing, even in a small percentage, to strengthening the enemy that is invading the country and wants to control our nation. We must talk about the boycott in the context of this comprehensive confrontation.

“Even if there is no economic benefit from this weapon, it has political, cultural, educational, and objectional results. It is one of the most effective weapons that we must use. Therefore, there is no need for us to tire ourselves too much with statistics and studies to find results. This result should be settled regardless of the statistics and numbers. The logic of statistics and figures come later when convincing those who insist that there should be an economic feasibility to it. Give me an example of two countries that fought and kept their doors and markets open to each other. This has never happened in history. The matter does not need scientific investigation and research. In any case, this country declared war on us, so it is natural that we boycott it."

4 - Do we have the capacity to proceed with this option?

“What I am calling for is that we do not focus too much on the negative aspects of the boycott. Whatever these negatives are, we must put them in the category of sacrifices that the confrontation process entails. And this is the natural context.

“We, as people, must decide our choices. We either surrender and search for our livelihood, even if it came through humiliation or accept the challenge and confrontation regardless of our capabilities and capacity. The people who are resisting have no time for calculations and no other choice but to attack. It must fight with what it has. This has always been the logic of resistance throughout history. It is natural for us to choose resistance and any weapon. Even if this weapon was less effective, it must be used according to the logic that I mentioned.”

BDS is an example:

The Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) movement is a Palestinian-led movement that seeks to achieve freedom, justice and equality. The global movement upholds the simple principle that Palestinians are entitled to the same rights as the rest of humanity.

Some of BDS’s achievements:

A report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) indicated a 46% decrease in foreign direct investment in the “Israeli” economy during 2014 compared to 2013. One of the report's writers attributed this decrease to the aggression on Gaza and the growth of the BDS movement.

“Israel” Export Institute revealed that “Israeli” exports dropped by 7% in 2015.

In 2015, boycott campaigns resulted in huge losses of more than $ 20 billion for the French company, Veolia, forcing it to withdraw completely from all its “Israeli” projects that violate international law, especially in occupied al-Quds.

Moody's, one of the world's leading credit rating agencies, warned that "the ‘Israeli’ economy may suffer if the BDS movement gains more momentum."