Lebanon bans Steven Spielberg's The Post, citing his ties to Israel

Marie Harrington
January 20, 2018

The decision by Lebanese authorities to ban Steven Spielberg's upcoming political drama "The Post" is unlikely to go through, a source from the Interior Ministry said Wednesday. The film has been refused a release because it breaches a boycott Israel directive maintained by the Lebanese government.

The film was scheduled to be released on January 18 in Lebanon, which is technically at war with Israel.

Steven Spielberg's 1993 film "Schindler's List" was banned from screening in Lebanon, and many other Arab and Muslim countries, for different reasons.

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.

Hariri, who recently returned to his role after a brief and freaky resignation involving Saudi Arabia, asked the Interior Ministry not to implement the ban, said a government official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject.

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Spielberg, who is Jewish, was placed on the Arab League blacklist of sanctioned individuals after his foundation gave a $1 million donation to relief efforts in Israel during its 2006 war with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement. It seems that anything remotely connected to Israel can get banned in Lebanon. Many free-speech advocates in the country noted the irony of banning a movie whose plot promotes press freedoms.

"We think this is not the right decision", he said.

"Why is The Post on the chopping block?" asked Gino Raidy of the March advocacy group, on his blog.

"The Post" is being shown in other Arab countries, where there have been no calls to boycott it. The commercially successful Wonderwoman was banned because it starred Gal Gadot, who served the Israeli military.

The failed attempt to ban "The Post" comes after Lebanese censors earlier this month forced Daniel Radcliffe-starrer "The Jungle", about Israeli adventurer Yossi Ghinsberg, to be pulled from local cinemas after it had been screening for two weeks. ". This is a great day for freedom of expression in Lebanon".

Other reports by TheSundaySentinel

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