Lebanon orders ban on Spielberg's 'The Post'

Danny Woods
January 19, 2018

The film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, tells the story of the Washington Post's efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that revealed the failures of the USA war in Vietnam.

The development was reported first by the Hollywood Reporter, which cited a source working on the film, and Lebanese news site Annahar, which cited a Lebanese film industry source. Most of Spielberg's films since 2006 have been released in Lebanon, although his name was blacked out on posters advertising 2011's The Adventures of Tintin.

Wonder Woman could not dodge Lebanon's censors past year.

Lebanon's censorship board had made the decision to ban the film based on a "boycott Israel" list, which Spielberg appears on since he shot some scenes from the 1993 film "Schindler's List" in Jerusalem, the Hollywood Reporter reported Sunday, citing a source involved with the movie's worldwide rollout.

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

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Banned films can often be found in bootleg movie shops across the country for as little as one dollar, and even blacklisted books can sometimes be found in regular bookstores. It seems that anything remotely connected to Israel can get banned in Lebanon.

"This is an wonderful development, and to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented in Lebanon", Gino Raidy, of the anti-censorship group March, wrote on his blog. Jungle isn't an Israeli movie, but it does star Daniel Radcliffe portraying the real-life story of Yossi Ghinsberg, an Israeli tourist who was lost in the Amazon jungle for several weeks in 1981 and survived despite overwhelming odds.

Spielberg "is blacklisted by the Arab League's boycott office, which Lebanon complies with", the official explained. Israel occupied large areas of southern Lebanon between 1978 and 2000.

The film was set to be released on January 18 across the world but will no longer be shown in Lebanon, unless the boycott is overturned by the Lebanese Interior Ministry. Rather, he said, the relaxation of the laws in recent years was an exception that needs to be reversed, especially at a time when other Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, are reported to be pursuing closer ties with Israel.

The country remains technically at war with its southern neighbour. "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". "Independence Day" and "True Lies" were barred for portraying Arabs in a bad light, and nearly all movies featuring homosexuality are forbidden.

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