Supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement at the American University of Beirut (AUB) have once again proven they are a force to be reckoned with.
When the university's administration disregarded their complaints against hosting an American professor affiliated with Israeli institutions, a group of students took it upon themselves to assert that he is not welcome on their campus.
Protesters attended Professor Jeff McMahan's talk, titled "Rethinking the Ethics of War," while holding up signs condemning the normalization of ties with Israel and repeating pro-Palestine chants.
Footage of the demonstration has been shared online.
AUB's Department of Philosophy hosted the author and University of Oxford professor on Tuesday.
Having researched his background, students found that McMahan has lectured in several Israeli universities, such as the University of Haifa and the Bar Ilan University, and published articles in the Israel Law Review.
Additionally, he currently serves as an adviser to the Department of Philosophy at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem.
Thus, many students called for the cancellation of his lecture, citing his ties with the occupying state, but the department followed through with the event.
Students greeted the professor by highlighting Israel's crimes
The lecture saw a large group of students chanting phrases such as "Death to Israel" and describing the professor as a Zionist. Some held Palestinian flags as well as banners that explained the reasons behind the protest including "[He] works in Occupied Palestine, earns from Israel."
In response, McMahan started off his talk by acknowledging students' concerns and explaining that he does "not honor an academic boycott of Israeli academics."
Some attendees expressed support for McMahan, with one labeling the protests as a form of "violence."
During the protest, a representative of some student clubs - namely the Palestinian Cultural Club, the Red Oak Club, and the Cultural Club of the South - gave a statement criticizing the event because the professor "is a direct contributor to the legitimization of the Israeli entity."
"We would like to emphasize that you are not welcome here not as Jeff McMahan, but as a contributor to the legitimization of the Zionist Entity, which to us doesn't even have the right to exist," the statement read.
Students also commented on the event on social media, with AUB graduate Gina Barghouti writing:
"Until the day Palestinian academics have the same access and platform and privileges that academics from Israeli institutions have, then boycotts are necessary to bring focus to this extreme injustice."
This is not the first time AUB witnesses the BDS movement in action. In 2016, AUB students launched a campaign calling for the closure of the Nestlé Toll House Cafe on campus due to "its role in supporting Israeli apartheid."
While students organized several sit-ins and called upon the administration to shut down the cafe, it remains intact in AUB's lower campus.
Lebanon does not have diplomatic links with Israel and Lebanese are banned from having business or commercial ties with the occupying state.
"Travelers who hold passports that contain visas or entry/exit stamps for Israel will likely be denied entry into Lebanon and may be subject to arrest or detention. Even if their travel documents currently do not have Israeli stamps or visas, persons seeking entry into Lebanon who have previously traveled to Israel may still face arrest and/or detention if this travel is disclosed," according to the U.S. Department of State.