Lebanon seeks to ban ‘Wonder Woman’
BEIRUT — Lebanon is seeking to ban the new “Wonder Woman” movie because its lead actress, Gal Gadot, is an Israeli — a reflection of how the decades-old animosity between the two neighbors is also infused in the cultural scene.
A security official said a formal request for a ban has not yet been received.
A ban would require a recommendation from a six-member committee from the Ministry of Economy, a process that has not yet begun, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to reporters.
A premiere of “Wonder Woman” is scheduled for today in at least one cinema in Beirut. Posters of the movie and digital billboards have sprouted up around the Lebanese capital.
Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a decadesold law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contacts with Israelis. The two countries have been
through a number of wars, including a particularly devastating one in 2006 that battered Lebanon’s infrastructure and left hundreds dead.
A group called Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon has pressed an effort against the movie. On its Facebook page, the campaign said Gadot was a soldier in the Israeli army and has expressed support for Israel’s military policies against the Gaza Strip, a coastal Palestinian territory run by the militant group Hamas.
“The state took the right
decision,” Samah Idriss, a member of the boycott campaign told The Associated Press. “We now await the implementation. … Even if it is one hour before the show, they should ban it anyway.”
Tensions have been rising between Israel and Hezbollah, with Israelis reportedly bombing several Hezbollah targets in Syria in recent months. Israel has signaled that the targets were smuggling sophisticated weapons to Lebanon. Hezbollah officials said recently they are not seeking war but are ready for it.
On her Facebook page, Gadot had praised Israel’s military during the 2014 Gaza-Israel war, sending prayers to soldiers “who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas.”
Officials at Lebanon’s Economy Ministry did not return calls seeking comment. The security official said banning a movie would ultimately come from the country’s interior minister following a recommendation from the six-member committee.
Warner Bros., which has released the film, declined comment.
Even though Lebanon enjoys a greater margin of freedom of expression than other countries in the region, prior censorship remains in place, particularly with content relating to Israel, religion and homosexuality.
Reflecting tightening of censorship, the Egyptian movie “Mawlana,” about a celebrity Muslim cleric, and a Lebanese movie, “Beach House,” about friends discussing their identities, were banned in Lebanon earlier this year.
Gal Gadot stars in “Wonder Woman.” The movie will be in theaters Friday.