At the rate Lebanon’s censorship bureau has been going for the past year, the country might as well have rang in 1918 instead of 2018, because the situation has become unacceptable.
The latest victim of a censorship bureau that doesn’t want to upset what’s becoming a form of cultural terrorism in the country is Steven Spielberg’s “The Post,” a stunning drama that is absolutely VITAL to be seen today.
The reason why Lebanon has an issue with Spielberg is both anti-semitic and because of the country’s anti-Israel laws. When Spielberg’s Tintin was released, his name was struck out from the poster in order to upset anyone due to his last name’s obvious Jewish background. His name was eventually added to the blacklist of the Arab League’s Central Boycott (of Israel) Office because of a donation he made to the Zionist state in 2006.
Yes, Spielberg making donations to Israel is abhorrent, but he’s not the only Hollywood figure to do so, nor will he be the last. When and where do we draw the ridiculous line about what we ban and allow in this country when it pertains to Israel, because this sure as hell is pushing it. An American director, with no ties to the country in question except for his religion, makes a contribution to the country like thousands of other Westerners and Americans do, and he’s suddenly persona non-grata?
To make matters worse, the decision to add Spielberg to that Arab ban list occurred in 2007. He’s had countless movies released in the area since, without any form of controversy. He has been director and producer of many movies that were released without a glitch in the area. Of those movies, I list: Transformers, The BFG, Bridge of Spies, Jurrasic World, Lincoln, etc…
Over the past 10 years, Lebanon has screened SIXTEEN movies in which Spielberg was either directing or producing. And here comes 2018, with Lebanon’s BDS office finding new muscle in our government, and the country won’t be able to get any of his movies ever again.
I would call such a ban illogical, but those calling for him to be blanket banned don’t really understand logic. They are the same people who believe Gal Gadot’s existence in a movie is a covert attempt at spreading zionism into the subconscious of the Arab masses, except in Gal Gadot’s case the argument was that she was actually Israeli, whereas in Spielberg’s case, the affront is an association to the n’th degree, just to appease to some people’s hypersensitivity, but I digress.
Being in the United States, I had the pleasure to watch “The Post” in its opening weekend a few days ago. The movie, set in the 1970s, features legends Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks as the owner and editor of the Washington Post at that time, respectively, as they try to reveal government secrets about the Vietnam War, during Nixon’s White House, as he attempts to silence the press.
The movie, based on a true story, is exceedingly important in today’s day and age where freedom of speech, the press, and the important of expression are all threatened. The irony of a movie about fighting off censorship being censored in a country that is developing a knee-jerk response to anything that ruffles its feathers should not escape you.
What we have in Lebanon is a bunch of airheads in power, whose brains only function in binaries, and who can’t appreciate enough nuances to be able to distinguish between cause to ban (which should never exist, but it’s Lebanon) and not. Instead, The Post is the second movie to be banned this week after Daniel Radcliffe’s “Jungle” also receives the same fate, when it’s discovered that the screenwriter, and some of the people involved in the making of the movie are Israelis.
To expect any movie coming in from the U.S. to be Israel-free is non-sensical. To expect any media import that we get from the big bad West to be Israel free is stupid. What’s next, banning everything that breathes because of a positive opinion they have of the Jewish state? I’m willing to bet those calling for the movie to be banned have watched countless Steven Spielberg movies before.
I expect this bullshit we’re dealing with not to decrease over the next few months, but to further perpetuate like the rabid fire it’s becoming. The next Nathalie Portman movie? Forget about it. Anything featuring Gal Gadot? Forget about that either. Any Steven Spielberg movie coming up after The Post? Nope. It’s just sad.
Again, I reiterate what I’ve said countless times before. Boycotts are not bans. Boycotts add to whatever message the BDS folks want to propagate in the country, whilst bans do the exact opposite. With every single movie they cause to be banned, they lose more people who’d be willing to support them. But I guess they don’t really care about that, either.
The hypocrisy of banning movies in Lebanon because they’re an easy target should not escape anyone. There are products distributed in the market, and imprinted in everyone’s personal life, that are also related in one way or another to Israel, but BDS’ dependency on such products will never have them call for bans.
The lines that movies can’t cross in this country are increasing by the day. “Call Me By Your Name,” the year’s best movie, won’t be released because of its LGBT theme. Movies are banned because Israel. Movies are banned because they upset Christian or Muslim clergy. At this rate, there’s no point in cinema in this country anymore.
Until then, enjoy streaming the movie online or buying it for $2 at your local bootleg DVD store. The biggest loser in all of this bullshit is that Lebanese distributor, in this case Italia Films, that already bought the rights for the movie and will be losing hundreds of thousands of dollars, as did Joseph Chacra with Wonder Woman, just because we have easily-influenced entities in offices of power, without any ounce of backbone whatsoever.
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Well written, so true!
Boycotts: Ignorance, Hypocrisy or Mysteriously Brilliant Strategic Thinking?
Let me answer this question before I even introduce the subject lest some well-meaning civil servant whose zeal I contribute to sponsor with my taxes, uncovers me and decides to throw me in jail: Mysteriously brilliant strategic thinking of course! We are Lebanese after all.
The subject is a familiar one. Israel is the enemy (or one of many, whatever …) and we ought to fight it with everything, from our own normality as a country to our boycott of everything Israeli, to obviously of course our well-being and our blood. Fine. I suppose the Lebanese who are happy as soon as they step out of their country are also are happy with that, and I am all for happiness.
That said, I would like to point out a few flies in this ointment which, make no mistake about it, I support wholeheartedly.
It is a spring, North of the Golan Heights, which is the source of the Banias River, one of the main tributaries of the Jordan River. In 2003, it is also the codename that the Intel Corporation gave to the first implementation of its Centrino Mobile platform. Generally, Intel chooses codenames among locations in Oregon (usually water bodies), as most of their integrated circuits are produced there. And so, obiously (especially if you’re cynical), Banias was a very natural codename since it was developed in Occupied Palestine. Today, all Intel laptops, even those we use in Lebanon, are based on this platform which is designed in Yakum, Occupied Palestine. Intel has four other major development centers in Occupied Palestine: Haifa (design and development), Jerusalem (network and communications), Petach Tikva (software for cellular communications), and Qiryat Gat (processors for all types of computers, incidentally a huge consumer of water). Today, Intel employs about ten thousand people in Occupied Palestine. Every Mac computer you buy, most Windows computers, and many other electronic components generate revenue which is then used to employ highly paid engineers in Occupied Palestine. I don’t even want to imagine the taxes they pay and that support the occupation and the Israeli army. And this is largely direct business with Israel, in addition to the taxes the Intel Corporation pay in the United States and we know what the United States government does with these taxes …
AMD has a design and research and development center in Ramat Gan, Occupied Palestine. I was unable to find total employment there but it must be much less than Intel. You might want to shift your business to AMD because they have less employees in Occupied Palestine. Windows and Unix run on AMD and so that’s doable If you’re not a Mac user.
3. But Wait a Minute
– With more than 700 employees, Apple’s Herzliya R&D center in Occupied Palestine is its second largest in the world. Yes, iPhones and iPads are tainted too.
– In 2012, Microsoft’s CEO boasted that his company “employs more workers per capita in “Israel” than anywhere else on earth”.
– Broadcom (which is bidding to buy Qualcomm, the main chips manufacturer of Android phones) employs 500 people in Occupied Palestine, of which some 450 are engineers. The company boasts that “99.98% of all Internet and mobile network traffic passes through a Broadcom chip”. Modems in iPhones and iPads are typically made by Broadcom.
– Google has more than 300 employees in Tel Aviv and in Haifa and it is there that it developed “Live Results” and “In-Page Analytics”
Wikipedia lists the multinationals that are active in Occupied Palestine in research and development (i.e. with employees getting paid for adding value to products sold in the whole world).
I am all for abiding with all the boycotts that my country decides, including Steven Spielberg or Starbucks if some militants have it their way, but there is one company that I hope we never boycott and it is GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Panadol, unless this boycott comes with an information campaign explaining that Paracetamol is the exact equivalent and that fine Lebanese pharmaceutical companies produce it in Lebanon.