I must admit, I’m not exactly what the kids call “hip.” I do my best to follow what’s happening in the culture, but sometimes things get past me.
So when a friend of mine told me that the actress playing Wonder Woman – Gal Gadot – is Israeli, I was both surprised and excited. Other than Natalie Portman, I’m not aware of a whole lot of Israeli movie stars who have headlined major motion pictures, so finding this out put a smile on my face.
But my smile quickly turned to a frown when I saw that Lebanon will be banning the movie because of Gadot’s presence in it.
The movie does not come out nationwide until tomorrow, so I obviously can’t tell you if it is good yet. But I can tell you that whether or not it is good has nothing to do with the country in which its star was born.
This is textbook racism, and while it is Lebanon so I shouldn’t be surprised, it is still amazing to me that this can happen in 2017. Lebanon’s rationale is that they are fighting Israel so they do not want to glorify a film with an Israeli in it.
First of all, Gal Gadot has nothing to do with that conflict. She’s not a soldier or a public official; she’s just an actress.
Second, who cares, anyway? We have cast actors and actresses from countries we were hostile to for years without a second thought. Doing otherwise would have been discriminatory and morally wrong.
Not to mention it would have robbed us of some excellent acting performances.
And really, all of this begs one question: What exactly is Lebanon afraid of? Do they think that if people in Lebanon see the movie they are going to suddenly start loving Israel? Do they think Gal Gadot will magically turn their citizens into pro IDF zealots or something?
The whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t so sad.
The whole thing would be laughable if it weren’t so sad. If individual people want to be closed-minded and not see a movie because the actress is from a country they don’t like, that’s ok. It’s stupid and ignorant, but we all make choices and nobody is suggesting forcing anybody to watch the movie for any reason.
But for a government to outright ban it? Again, I know this is Lebanon and they do things differently over there, but that doesn’t change the fact that it is wrong. Yet I haven’t seen any prominent public officials – including President Trump – condemn Lebanon for this.
By refusing to call them out en masse for their behavior, we are holding the Lebanese government to a different, much lower standard just because of where the country is located geographically, and that is ridiculous. Bigotry shouldn’t get a pass just because it comes from another culture in another part of the world.
This may all seem insignificant, but if we don’t stand up against it as a society, we are essentially saying that behavior like this is ok. That is not a message we want to send to anybody anywhere, especially if we are to ever have hope of changing hearts and minds worldwide.
Follow me on Twitter: @mk1157