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

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

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

Lebanon's censorship authorities have recommended a ban on Steven Spielberg's newspaper drama The Post ahead of its planned opening this week in theatres in Beirut.

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.

The country is officially at war with Israel and has a law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from travelling to Israel or having contact with Israeli citizens.

"The Post" is a newspaper drama about The Washington Post's publishing of the Pentagon's papers and which delves into USA responsibility in Vietnam's war in 1971, and the government lies about it.

The ban sparked an outcry on social media, prompting both Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran to urge Mashnouq to reverse the ban, Carlo Vincente, General Manager of Italia Films, the movie's distribution group, told Annahar Wednesday.

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Spielberg, who is Jewish, was placed on the Arab League blacklist of sanctioned individuals after his foundation gave a US$1-million (S$1.32-million) donation to relief efforts in Israel during its 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. Over the past three years, at least five films either directed or produced by Spielberg were accepted and approved by the Lebanese censorship board. Many free-speech advocates in the country 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.

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

Spielberg's movie was initially banned along with a film called "Jungle", starring Daniel Radcliffe and telling the story of Israeli Yossi Ghinsberg, who got lost in the Bolivian Amazon in 1981. Lebanese director Ziad Doueiri's film "The Attack" was banned as well, which was partially shot in Israel with Israeli actors. Previous year they banned "Wonder Woman" actress Gal Gadot, who is from Israel and also served in the Israeli military. "Lebanon, or certain sectors in Lebanon, have recently realized the dangers of cultural and academic normalization with Israel. after this whole Arab overture to Israel".

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