Lebanon Reverses 'The Post' Ban; Steven Spielberg Film To Release This Week

Posted January 19, 2018

Furthermore, a number of his previous films have been successfully screened in Lebanon since Schindler's List was released in 1993, although the director's name was blacked out on posters advertising his 2011 The Adventures of Tintin.

Lebanon officially follows an Arab League blacklist against supporters of Israel and organizations and companies seen as promoting or doing business with the country.

Lebanon has banned the screening of Steven Spielberg's latest movie The Post, citing Spielberg's associations with Israel. Jungle, starring Daniel Radcliffe, was also banned previous year, two weeks after its release, due to the social-media buzz surrounding the survival thriller, which features an Israeli protagonist.

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Distributor Italia Film, which is handling "The Post" in Lebanon, called the reversal "a big victory" and said they expect to release the Spielberg real-life newspaper drama Thursday as planned.

Last year, Lebanon banned Hollywood blockbuster "Wonder Woman" because lead actress Gal Gadot had served in Israel's military.

After being accused in 2006 for being critical of Israel following the release of his movie Munich, Spielberg, who is Jewish American, told German magazine Der Spiegel: "If it became necessary, I would be prepared to die for the United States of America and for Israel".

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The pan-Arab body maintains a regional boycott of Israel, and blacklisted Spielberg after he donated $1 million to Israel during its destructive 2006 war with Lebanon. Lebanese law prohibits any contact between Lebanese and Israeli citizens, even in a third country.

The ban sparked an outcry on social media, prompting both Prime Minister Saad Hariri and Foreign Minister Gebran to urge Mashnouq to reverse the ban, Carlo Vincente, General Manager of Italia Films, the movie's distribution group, told Annahar Wednesday.

The acclaimed production tells the behind-the-scenes story of the 1971 publication by The Washington Post of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the lies behind U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.

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Others hailed the decision as a strike for free speech in Lebanon, which is known to be one of the more liberal countries in the Middle East but nonetheless comes up against frequently arbitrary impediments to freedoms that would be taken for granted elsewhere.