‘Wonder Woman’ Is a Box Office Hit in US, but Its Star Is Controversial in Middle East

The new Wonder Woman movie has been a smash at the box office, having grossed $129 million in its first five days in U.S. theaters and more than $220 million worldwide.

While many movie fans are anxious to see the new Warner Bros. film, people in Lebanon won’t get the opportunity. That’s because the film was banned last week by the country’s ministry of economy and trade.

The ban was not because of content the country deems offensive but rather because of its lead actress, Gal Gadot. She is an Israeli.

Lebanon bans Israeli products because it is at war with Israel.

Supporters of the boycott say it’s not Gadot’s nationality prompting the boycott, but rather the time she spent in the Israeli military — a requirement for Israeli men and women over 18 — and her public support of the Israeli military in the 2014 Israeli-Gaza conflict in which more than 2,200 people died, many of them civilians. More than 2,000 of those casualties were Palestinians.

In a Facebook post in 2014, Gadot said she was sending prayers for Israeli soldiers “who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas.”

A group called Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel urged the Lebanese government to ban the film.

“The state took the right decision,” Samah Idriss, a member of the boycott campaign, told The Associated Press.

Officials in Jordan are also considering banning the movie in that country.

“We remind the Jordanians of their obligation to boycott the film, and we refuse to be partners to the crimes of the Zionists and to increase their profits from this film. The Arab audience will not be involved in projects that represent Zionism and the Israeli army,” said a statement from one of the Jordanian campaigns against normalization with Israel, according to Ynet, an Israeli website.

Not everyone in Lebanon agrees with the decision to ban the film.

“Resist what?” wrote popular Lebanese blogger Elie Fares of her government’s decision. “A movie about an iconic superhero who’s been part of pop culture for over 70 years. A movie in which the lead actress happens to be Israeli but who’s not portraying ANYTHING related to her ‘country’ in any way whatsoever.”

In Jerusalem, Gadot’s performance and the movie’s success are being hailed.

The Azrieli Towers in Tel Aviv displayed electronic billboard messages for Gidot this week that read, “We’re proud of you Gal Gadot” and “Our Wonder Woman,” according to The Jerusalem Post. (For more from the author of “‘Wonder Woman’ Is a Box Office Hit in US, but Its Star Is Controversial in Middle East” please click HERE)

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