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Danya Hajjaji

Lebanese consulate in New York closed after consul general slammed as 'Nazi sympathiser'

Abir Taha Audi (L) confronts protesters in front of New York's Lebanese consulate [AFP]

Date of publication: 12 August, 2020

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Lebanon's consul general in New York has come under fire after a series of Nazi sympathising comments she allegedly made surfaced on social media.
Lebanon's consulate in New York announced its indefinite closure on Wednesday following protests over the consul's alleged past racist and white supremacist remarks, which surfaced on social media this week.

Abir Taha Audi, who served as Lebanon's consul general in New York since late last year, was targeted by a social media storm after the circulation of an alleged interview she gave in 2015.

In the interview, Taha is quoted as saying she is "keen on preserving the Aryan Tradition's values and virtures", as well as bashing New York as a "hell of a city" that is "ruled by Zionism".

"NYC represents everything that is wrong with modernity, as opposed to civilisation: racial miscegenation, moral decadence, deviance, depravity, savage capitalism, atomistic selfishness, spiritual alienation, 'mob rule above and below'," Taha is quoted as saying in the interview.

The web page containing the interview has since been deactivated.

A now-deleted author Facebook page for Taha appeared to have shared the interview in 2015. A cached version of the post remains available.

A Monday statement by the Lebanese consulate's website said the allegations against Taha were "lies and harmful rumors based on fabricated 'interviews' and fake news by pirates who hijacked her email and her social media accounts several times to ruin her reputation".

Social media users also shared screenshots of a Facebook comment thread from 2013, in which Taha reportedly referred to former US president Barack Obama as "Obanana the monkey" and spoke of "decadent Swedes who mate with Negroes and follow a Semitic religion".

Several books authored by Taha were released by publishing house Arktos, which appears to promote works espousing far-right sentiment.

Arktos has published books by other authors with titles such as "The Blackening of Europe" and "Ethnic Apocalypse: The Coming European Civil War".

On her personal Facebook account, Taha has shared at least one of her books' profiles on Arktos' website, as well as a glowing review of her book "The Epic of Arya" by Counter-Currents, a white nationalist website.

On Monday evening, about 200 protesters - most of whom were Lebanese - gathered at the Lebanese consulate in Manhattan demanding Taha's resignation, according to Newsweek. Demonstrators called the consul general a "Nazi", a "facist" and a "racist".

On Thursday, the consulate announced its closure "until terror against its Consul and staff stops and until it gets full police protection 24/7".

Tensions have erupted within Lebanese communities at home and abroad, as last week's explosion in Beirut has revived anger at a ruling class viewed as corrupt and incompetent.

The cataclysmic blast at Beirut’s port claimed the lives of at least 160 people and injured around 6,000 others. About half the city was destroyed, leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

The explosion sank Beirut even further into the depths of Lebanon’s economic crisis and has triggered widespread protests in the country.

In the wake of the disaster, Lebanese Prime Minister Hassan Diab announced the resignation of his government on Monday.

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