Disney’s new Israeli superhero film hits a raw nerve with Arabs

“The boy died because the boy’s people and you both want to own the land! The boy died because you won’t share!” Hulk says.

A few panels later, the woman in a white and blue dress kneels next to the boy with a Star of David on his chest.

“It has taken the Hulk to see this dead Arab boy as a human being,” the comic says. “He has taken a demon to awaken his sense of humanity.”

More than forty years after Sabra was introduced, Disney’s Marvel plans to cast her to film in “Captain America: New World Order,” to be released in 2024. This has sparked an uproar among those who fear that reviving Sabra’s character would spread offensive stereotypes about Arabs and the dehumanization of Palestinians in cinema.
Critics have noted that the Arab characters he interacted with in the comics are depicted as misogynistic, anti-Semitic and violent, and are questioning whether disturbing depictions of Arabs would appear differently in the film. .

“This comic doesn’t suggest anything positive about how this movie will play out,” said Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer and analyst based in Washington DC, adding that the whole concept of turning Israeli spies into heroes was “insensitive and insensitive.” It’s shameful.”

“The glorification of violence in the mass media against Palestinians, and especially against Arabs and Muslims, has a long and ugly history in the West and has remarkable staying power,” he said.

“Arab Americans in Film: From Hollywood and Egyptian Stereotypes to Self-Representation” author Waleed F. Mahdi said that the “US-Israeli coalition” in cinematic fiction from the 1960s has celebrated American and Israeli law enforcement and intelligence agencies as good. The forces are “committed to preventing violence that is primarily associated with Arabs and Muslims.”

“Marvel’s announcement of adopting the comic character of Sabra is a reflection of this legacy,” he told CNN.

A Marvel Studios spokesperson told CNN that “the filmmakers are taking a new approach with the character of Sabra, who was first introduced in the comics 40 years ago,” adding those characters to the Marvel Cinematic Universe “have always been on the screen.” and is re-imagined for today’s audiences.”

Even some Israelis say that Sabra may not be a superhero for our times. Etgar Keret, an Israeli writer, screenwriter and graphic novelist, told CNN that the original Sabra character was created in a different era with a “simple and clear story.”

“It was built before Sabra two [Palestinian] intifada [uprisings]It was built before the Oslo Accords failed – it was built in a completely different reality and state of mind. “And now … it’s hard to put the epitome of such simplicity.”

The name of the superhero is a surname for a Jewish person born in Israel or the occupied territories, and stems from the Hebrew word for the fruit of a prickly pear. It has been in widespread use since the 1930s, before the founding of Israel.

But the word is spelled the same way in English as one of two Palestinian communities in Lebanon, where more than 1,000 Palestinian and Lebanese Shia civilians were massacred by Lebanese Christian militiamen affiliated with Israel during the 1982 Lebanon–Israel War – Known as the Sabra and Shatila massacres, named after the places where it took place.

In 1983 the Israeli government issued a commission of inquiry into incidents in refugee camps and found the Israeli military indirectly responsible. It concluded that the army had approved the entry of militiamen into the area and did not take appropriate measures to prevent the killings. As a result of the findings of the investigation, the then Defense Minister Ariel Sharon was forced to resign.

Muslims make up 25% of the world's population.  But in the 200 shows the researchers studied, they were just 1% of the characters speaking.

Marvel’s Sabra character Sabra and Shatila was created prior to the massacre and has nothing to do with it, but the announcement of her bringing her to theaters just a week before the 40th anniversary of the massacre has touched a raw nerve with billions of people, Who accuses the film studio of being insensitive. One of the saddest events in the history of the Palestinian people.

“It is not just in time or name, but also in the fact that the massacre was led by a person associated with Mossad. [militia] Munyar said, “Given all of this, it is not difficult to conclude that the people at Marvel are either completely ignorant of the region, its history, and the Palestinian experience, or that they purposely aimed to kick . People living under apartheid when they were down.”

While Sabra won’t be the first time Israel’s intelligence agency has been given the Hollywood treatment, it is the first time the Mossad has been given supernatural status on the level of a mega, blockbuster superhero. Experts say it is a public relations victory for the agency.

Avner Avram, a former Mossad official and founder of Spy Legends Agency, said the new illustration will help the younger generation learn about the Mossad.

“It’s the ‘TikTok’ way, the cartoon way of talking to the new generation, and they will learn about the word Mossad,” Avram said. “It helps with branding. It will engage a different audience.”

He added that such exposure could help Mossad recruit sources and aid to other countries.

“The fact that they decided to take a Mossad agent, Sabra, and they didn’t take an Egyptian agent or an Italian agent, shows that Mossad is a big name,” Avram said.

Uri Fink, an Israeli cartoonist who says he first came up with a similar Israeli superhero character in 1978, although fears that the “progressives” working at Marvel may turn the Israeli agent into a negative character. “They are not well updated, they do not have accurate details of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he told CNN.

Avram echoed that concern, speculating that she might be portrayed as a character who does good for Israel but “bad things for other people.”

CNN’s Michael Schwartz, Abir Salman and Mohamed Abdelbari contributed to this article


Armed woman demanding access to deposits takes hostages to bank in Beirut

State news agency NNA reported that a group of people, at least one of whom was armed, took hostages on Wednesday while demanding access to deposits at a bank in central Beirut. The NNA said a woman entered the bank with a gun in her hand, “doped herself in petrol and threatened to set herself on fire if she stopped him from withdrawing money for the treatment of his ailing sister.” She was able to withdraw about $20,000 from her account before leaving the bank. Lebanon’s Directorate General of General Security said on Twitter that the woman had not been arrested. She said in an interview with a local TV channel that the gun was “a toy” that belonged to her nephew.

  • backgroundFacing an economic downturn, Lebanon implemented strict restrictions on withdrawals from banks in October 2019, preventing people from gaining access to their savings.
  • why it matters: This was the second known mortgage position at a bank in the capital in nearly a month. Last month, an armed man stormed a Beirut bank and threatened to kill the hostages and himself if he was not allowed to withdraw funds from his frozen account. The man said that he needed the amount to help pay for his father’s medical expenses. The standoff ended when the bank gave Hussain part of his savings. Experts have warned that such incidents are likely to repeat in a heavily armed country.

Iran says it has developed new long-range drones to strike Israeli cities

Brigadier General Kiomers Hedari told state TV on Monday that Iran has developed an advanced long-range drone to target Israeli cities.

  • background: The drone, named Arash-2, has “unique capabilities,” Hedari said, adding that Tehran is “considering this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) specifically for attacks on Haifa and Tel Aviv.” Separately on Monday, the director of Israel’s Mossad spy service said Israel would retaliate against Iran if Tehran used force “against Israel or the Israelis”.
  • why it matters: As world powers try to revive the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Tehran’s regional enemies – namely Israel and Gulf Arab states – are expressing concern over a potentially upbeat Iran after sanctions are lifted.

Israeli officer and two Palestinians killed in exchange of fire at West Bank fence

An Israel Defense Force (IDF) officer and two Palestinians were killed in an exchange of fire early Wednesday along the fence separating the West Bank and Israel, not far from Jenin.

  • background: According to the IDF, the officer killed was Major Bar Falah, 30, of Netanya, north of Tel Aviv. The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed the deaths of two Palestinian men, 23-year-old Ahmed Ayman Ibrahim Abed and 22-year-old Abdulrahman Hani Subhi Abed, both from Jenin. The IDF said both had automatic weapons.
  • why it matters: At least 97 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli military strikes this night, particularly focusing on the Jenin region. The Israeli military says most are terrorists killed during violent clashes with Israeli soldiers. But even unaffiliated citizens are caught up in the violence. According to Israeli human rights watchdog B’Salem, there has been a significant increase in attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians on the West Bank. Israel also says that violent attacks against Israelis, especially soldiers, are also at their peak.

around the area

Saudi authorities in the holy city of Mecca have arrested a man who said he was performing an Islamic pilgrimage for the soul of the late Queen Elizabeth II.

The Mecca government tweeted late on Monday that Security forces captured a Yemen Residents who appeared in the video “violate rules” at the holy city’s Great Mosque, where Muslims perform the Hajj, and the lesser pilgrimage known as Umrah.

In the video on social media, a man can be seen holding a placard that read, in both English and Arabic, “This Umrah was performed for the soul of Queen Elizabeth II. We ask God to bless her as one of the righteous in heaven.” to be accepted as such.”

The Mecca region tweeted a video of the man whose face and placard were blurred. It did not say what rules the man had violated, but said he had been referred to public prosecution. Political signs are prohibited during the pilgrimage.

Many responded angrily and called for the man’s arrest, while others mocked him and questioned his motives. Some said that it is forbidden to pray for the soul of a non-Muslim. The Queen was the head of the Church of England, a title now taken by her son, King Charles III.

Britain’s longest-reigning Queen, died last week at the age of 96. Saudi Arabia mourned the UK last week, with King Salman referring to her as “a role model for a leadership that will be immortalized in history.”

by Nadine Ibrahim

photo of the Day

Christian Greek Orthodox worshipers gather on a rock around a wooden cross on Tuesday to celebrate the ascension of the Holy Cross in the coastal city of Anfeh, about 70 kilometers (43 miles) north of the Lebanese capital Beirut.

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