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Lebanese Prime Minister Steps In to Overrule Ban on 'The Post'
20 January 2018, 03:56 | Katrina Lee
Lebanon's Anti-Israel Blacklist Will Keep Spielberg Film Out of its Theaters
Lebanon authorities have taken steps to ban 20th Century Fox's "The Post" due to director Steven Spielberg's pro-Israel Stance, Fox News reports. Lebanese laws ban dealing with or recognizing Israel. The matter has now been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could still overturn the decision.
The Post, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, is a thrilling drama about the Washington Post's Katharine Graham, the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee, as they expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades.
But the decision was made entirely on the basis of Spielberg's interactions with Israel, Hanoun said.
The action movie "Wonder Woman" was refused permission to be shown previous year because the lead actress, Gal Gadot, is an Israeli citizen who had served in the Israeli military.
"We are glad and pleased that justice, reason, and love of cinema has prevailed", the spokesman said, adding that he wanted to "thank everyone involved in the strong, united large popular support movement", including press, bloggers, and other opinion-makers who rallied in support of "The Post" after news of the ban broke.
Gino Raidy of the March advocacy group wrote in his blog, "Why is The Post on the chopping block?"
The security body had on Monday announced it was banning the Hollywood thriller to comply with an Arab League boycott targeting supporters of Israel.
With less fanfare, the movie "Jungle", starring Daniel Radcliffe, was banned in December because the story of survival in the Bolivian jungle was based on the autobiography of an Israeli citizen, Yossi Ghinsberg. In 2006, it waged a month-long war against Hezbollah after the movement's fighters abducted two Israeli soldiers.
Bassam Eid, product manager for Empire Cinemas in Lebanon and distributor of "The Post", said social media campaigns have started to put more pressure on Lebanon's government over films.
Lebanon is officially at war with Israel and has a boycott again Israel in place. Lebanon does not recognize Israel as a country and boycotts its goods and cultural exports. Spielberg, however, is not an Israeli citizen, nor is he affiliated in any official way with the Jewish state.
Lebanon is widely seen as a relative bastion of free speech in the Middle East. A television talk show host, Marcel Ghanem, is being prosecuted for criticizing the judiciary.
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