Wonder Woman: banned in Beirut

Lebanon has banned the blockbuster movie Wonder Woman, featuring the former Israeli soldier Gal Gadot. Gadot, who plays the lead role in the movie, served in the Israeli army during the bombing of Lebanon in 2006. The attack on Lebanon  killed 1,200 civilians, a third of them children, during a 34-day period. Human Rights Watch has reported that as many as 4.6 million cluster bombs  were dropped on Lebanon by Israel.

In 2014, during Israel’s 51-day attack on Gaza, Gadot praised the Israeli army. Rania Masri, an activist with the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel in Lebanon told The Electronic Intifada that banning the film is in accordance with Lebanon’s boycott law.

The 1955 law specifically prohibits financial transactions between Lebanon and any Israeli or Israeli institution, she said. Last year, campaigners pressured the government to issue the same ban against Batman v Superman in which Gadot also appeared, but “nothing happened with regards to banning the film,” Masri, who is also a writer and academic, explained.

Major western  media outlets have labeled the film ban an act of “censorship.” Masri argued that this was a legitimate implementation of Lebanese law and not an act of censorship over the film’s content.

Wonder Woman has been banned because it features a former Israeli soldier in the lead role, Masri explained. The banning is an act of resistance “against normalizing with an apartheid settler-state that continues to this date to occupy not only all of Palestinian territory – and we consider all of Palestine to be occupied—but also Syrian territory in the Golan Heights [and] Lebanese territories in the Shebaa Farms,” she said.

Eleven years after Israel was defeated in the 2006 war, Israel’s leaders continue to threaten the entire Lebanese population with another war, Masri said.

In March, the far-right Israeli politician Naftali Bennett openly threatened Lebanese civilians and declared that “Lebanese institutions, its infrastructure, airport, power stations, traffic junctions [and] Lebanese Army bases” are “legitimate targets.” Bennett warned that Israel would send Lebanon “back to the Middle Ages” if another war breaks out.

Nora Barrows-Friedman is an Oregonian and a staff writer for the Electronic Intifada. The June 8, 2017 edition also has an audio interview with Rania Masri.