The Times of Israel writes:
Lebanese Minister of Economy and Trade Alain Hakim said that the country has put in place the necessary steps to prevent the movie from being shown in Lebanese theaters, the country’s National News Agency reported Monday.
The Times of Israel also notes that an organization called “Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon” had been pushing to ban the Wonder Woman film.
Lebanon has long had in place a policy boycotting “Israeli products and [barring] Lebanese citizens from traveling or having contacts with Israelis.”
Beirut’s Grand Cinemas issued a tweet Wednesday:
— Grand Cinemas (@GCLebanon) May 31, 2017
Here’s what the issue boils down to — Gal Godot is an Israeli, who unabashedly supports her homeland. She’s a veteran, having served in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF), and is a strong critic of Hamas, as well as other anti-Semitic groups.
During the 2014 war between Israel and Hamas, Godot posted the following to Facebook:
Hezbollah, Lebanon’s very own Hamas, a heavily militarized Shiite Muslim political party, “holds 12 seats in the Parliament. Its political bloc, March 8, holds 57 of 128 seats, giving Hezbollah a substantial amount of influence inside the government,” writes Dana Ballout and Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal.
Lebanese Muslims are trained from an early age to hate Israelis. Godot is an Israeli, and as such, they want Wonder Woman banned. It’s simple anti-Semitism, and it’s disgusting.
As a young girl, Brigitte Gabriel grew up as a Maronite Christian in a very different Lebanon than we know today; it was a vibrant democracy, known as “the Paris of the Middle East.”
With the rise of Islamo-fascism in Lebanon, everything changed. Gabriel spent seven years living out of a bomb-shelter with her parents as a brutal war raged just outside the door. Crawling on her stomach to avoid snipers while trying to reach fresh water, and later being targeted as a journalist working in Israel, Brigitte Gabriel knows first hand the evils of the anti-Semitic and anti-Christian Islamo-fascists who today wield tremendous power in her homeland.
When asked if the ban on Wonder Woman came as a shock to her, Gabriel responded: “It’s not surprising, but it is extremely disappointing.”
She proceeded to draw a direct line between the adult world in which these actions are taking place, and the way in which Lebanese children are being raised, saying: “If we want to show children that we want to work toward peace, then we need to start talking to the children, and behaving in a way that does not make them feel hatred toward an actress in a movie.”
Despite what some may believe, “this type of hateful rhetoric and animosity didn’t start today,” said Gabriel, who noted that while she is currently 52-years-old, “this was happening when I was a child. This is what I heard on the school playground; this is what I watched on television when I was growing up. It was a part of Lebanese society.”
The Muslim-majority nations of Egypt and Jordan are not banning Wonder Woman, stated Gabriel, which simply makes Lebanon’s behavior that much more striking.
“The fact that they want to ban the movie just because the actress is Israeli is so shameful, but maybe it earns them some stature or recognition,” Gabriel said. However, it simply displays more prominently the “hatred, animosity, and deep emotions that run in the culture against Israelis.”
“It is anti-Semitism in its basic form,” she added. “They call Israel the name of the devil. This is how children are raised. This level of hatred toward the Israelis, as if they don’t belong in the Middle East; they shouldn’t even exist.”
Gabriel reached back to the assassination of Lebanon’s President-elect Bashir Gemayel in 1982, who “wanted to sign a peace treaty with Israel.” She said that while Lebanese Christians wanted peace with Israel, the nation’s militant Muslims did not, and thus, he was targeted.
The New York Times writes about Gemayel’s murder:
Mr. Gemayel, who had been the commander of the Christian militias, was elected President Aug. 23 at a special session of Parliament that was boycotted by many Moslem legislators. To them, many other Moslems and some Christian groups, he was an enemy and an agent of Israel…
Gabriel’s mentioning of the assassination of Gemayel was to illustrate a very simple, but salient notion: “That’s the hatred that runs deep in the Islamic world,” she said. “Peace died with his death.”
What’s next for Lebanon, I asked, if they are so fervently anti-Israel that they have banned a blockbuster film just because it features an Israeli actress? Gabriel answered in a very measured way: “They believe that all Jews should be killed and thrown into the sea. This is what the Arabic Middle East holds dear inside its heart, inside its soul, and they will not rest until they drive every Jew out of the Middle East.”
Gabriel noted that while nations like Jordan and Egypt have made peace with Israel because they knew it was in their best interest to do so, Lebanon’s animus toward the middle eastern democracy is merely “the tip of the iceberg.” In a grave tone, she added: “The hatred runs so deep it is invisible, but you are seeing the tip of it.”
Then, with great candor, Gabriel asked: “Until the Arabic world stops their hatred toward the Jews, and their brainwashing of the next generation — that Jews and Israelis should be hated simply because they exist — how can we have peace?”
Speaking in more specific terms, I asked Gabriel what she would say to Gal Godot in the face of such discrimination, and she replied: “Stand strong, and thank you for serving the only free, democratic society in the Middle East, where people can be all they can be.” She made sure to add that “not all Lebanese are this way, and many look forward to the day when we can have peace between Lebanon and Israel.”
Gabriel concluded by saying: “I would love to meet Gal Godot, and even show up with her at the premier or elsewhere to make sure we send a message that it is time for peace and reconciliation, and enough hatred. I want to send a message on behalf of the many Lebanese who do not agree with the decision, yet are too afraid for their life to voice their opinion. On their behalf I would love to stand beside her and support her in her success, and encourage Lebanese worldwide to go see Wonder Woman.”
Wonder Woman opens June 2nd in the United States. Also check out Dave Rubin’s must-watch interview with Gabriel here.