Last year, Lebanon banned the Wonder Woman movie because its star, Gal Gadot, had served in the Israeli forces under the country’s national service. Gadot’s two years of service coincided with the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon, one of many wars and conflicts the bitter rivals have been involved in over the decades.
The campaign by BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) activists was based around the statement that the presence of an Israeli lead amounts to normalisation of an enemy state. And they didn’t mean Themyscira. The campaign in 2016 was successful against Wonder Woman in a way that it wasn’t when fought against Batman V Superman in 2014, due to the more prominent presence of Gal Gadot in the second film.
The campaign began again against Justice League, planned to open this week in Lebanon.
With Justice League, also starring Gal Gadot in the same role, opening in local cinemas on Thursday, the activists want the government to do the same. Activist Pierre Abi Saab has accused the promoters of the film of ignoring Lebanese laws that he said outlaw all forms of normalisation of ties with Israel, saying “We thought the debate had been settled five months ago but we are now back to square one,” he wrote, in reference to the controversy at the time surrounding Wonder Woman and called on the country’s interior minister to pull the movie from cinema screens. While a local Lebanese newspaper has run a conspiracy therory that Gadot was a Mossad spy who seduced Ziad Itani, a local actor arrested for collaborating with Israel.
It has now been reported that this campaign has been successful and that, yes, Justice League has been banned in Lebanon. For Warner Bros, this would have been a small blip on the worldwide box-office figures, but on a local level, this has a major impact.