6 films that were banned in Lebanon because of links to Israel

Peter Castro
January 19, 2018

The company distributing the film in Lebanon confirmed to AFP that the film about the Washington Post's pursuit and publishing of the Pentagon Papers would be released in movie theatres in the capital of Beirut and elsewhere on Thursday.

Lebanese authorities have reversed a decision to ban Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama "The Post" ahead of its opening in theaters across the country, a local cinema manager said Wednesday.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, also confirmed to AFP on Monday that Spielberg's film had been banned.

In May 2017, Lebanon officially banned the superhero movie Wonder Woman because the lead actress, Gal Gadot, is Israeli.

A leaked U.S. State Department memo from 2007 revealed that Spielberg was blacklisted by the League for donating $1 million to Israel for reconstruction during its 2006 war with Lebanon.

But the decision was made entirely on the basis of Spielberg's interactions with Israel, Hanoun said.

"The Post" is being shown in other Arab countries, where there have been no calls to boycott it.

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Free speech advocates in Lebanon noted the irony of banning a movie whose plot promotes press freedoms.

"Why is The Post on the chopping block?" asked Gino Raidy of advocacy group March, on his blog.

With less fanfare, the movie "Jungle", starring Daniel Radcliffe, was banned in December because the story of survival in the Bolivian jungle was based on the autobiography of an Israeli citizen, Yossi Ghinsberg.

Lebanon's government has encouraged this anti-Jewish and anti-Israel hatred through the years. Lebanese laws ban dealing with or recognizing Israel.

He did not specify their origin but a few days earlier the Lebanese branch of the Campaign to Boycott the Supporters of Israel issued a statement against "Jungle" because its main character is an Israeli, as is one of its producers.

Parts of Lebanon were occupied by Israeli troops for 22 years, and thousands of Lebanese were killed in Israeli attacks on the country, explaining why ties to Israel are so sensitive. "Independence Day" and "True Lies" were barred for portraying Arabs in a bad light, and nearly all movies featuring homosexuality are forbidden.

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