I didn't know the Lebanese preferred not to call themselves Arabs but I'm not entirely surprised. Many Egyptians (not just Nubians and Copts) don't consider themselves to be Arabs (though they are Arabic-speaking). The Arab identity eclipsed many other identities in the Middle East and North Africa, so that Mesopotamians, Syrians, Libyans etc "became" Arabs. I read somewhere that most North Africans are genetically Berber whether they consider themselves to be Berber or not. Many Sudanese "Arabs" are descended from Nubians who adopted the Arabic language and culture. Yes, "true" Arabs, Syrians, Hebrews, Phoenicians etc could be called Semites in the same way that Irish, Scots, Welsh, Manx, Cornish and Bretons could be called Celts.
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