Lebanon bans Spielberg's new movie over director's link to Israel

Film review The Post
The Post: Lebanon Bans Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks Blockbuster Over Steven Spielberg's Israel Links
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20 January, 2018

Now, Steven Spielberg has also not made the cut.

As Lebanon bans this movie and continues to slander and incite hatred against the Jewish state, Lebanese moviegoers need to hear The Post's stirring message of freedom more than ever, that truth should never be feared, that we should all think for ourselves and not be blindly led into war or conflict or hatred.

While Lebanon is generally considered the most liberal of Arab countries, it occasionally bans content considered immoral, inciteful or supportive of Israel. Starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, it tells the nail-biting story of Katherine Graham, owner of The Washington Post, and her wrenching decision in 1971 to go public with the top-secret Pentagon Papers detailing government lying and malfeasance in the Vietnam war.

"We think this is not the right decision", he said. A year ago they banned "Wonder Woman" actress Gal Gadot, who is from Israel and also served in the Israeli military.

The other film that got the censorship axe was "Jungle", a survival drama about Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, who got lost in an uncharted part of the Bolivian Amazon in 1981.

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What seems especially incongruous is that Lebanon is one of the few countries in the Arab world still vigorously boycotting Israel, Raidy said.

The security body had on Monday announced it was banning the Hollywood thriller to comply with an Arab League boycott targeting supporters of Israel.

There are no direct flights between the two countries because of these tensions and Lebanese citizens are banned from contact with Israelis. Furthermore, a number of his previous films have been successfully screened in Lebanon since Schindler's List was released in 1993, although the director's name was blacked out on posters advertising his 2011 The Adventures of Tintin.

Lebanon is widely seen as a relative bastion of free speech in the Middle East. In early January, the courts issued an arrest warrant for a television presenter, Maria Maalouf, after she criticized Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. The 2015 movie "Spotlight", about the Boston Globe's investigation into the abuse of children by the Catholic clergy, was barred apparently because it cast the Catholic Church in a bad light (around half of Lebanon's population is Christian).


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