Lebanon bans The Post movie


Lebanese authorities have banned Steven Spielberg's latest film, the political thriller "The Post", an official said on Monday.

Lebanon follows the blacklist policy, in accordance with a cultural boycott on Israel, but several Spielberg films have actually been screened in their cinemas, including "The Adventures of Tintin", "The BFG" and "Bridge of Spies".

An unidentified official from General Security told Lebanese daily Annahar that the ban against the film was not negotiable because Spielberg is on the Arab boycott list, which Lebanon legally abides by.

"The Post" is an acclaimed production starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks on the behind-the-scenes story of the 1971 publication by The Washington Post of the Pentagon Papers, which exposed the lies behind US involvement in the Vietnam War.

The spokesman noted that, following "Schindler's List", other Spielberg movies have been regularly released in Lebanon.

Former MP Fares Souaid described the ban as "stupid", citing comments by Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil who said last month that Lebanon does not have an ideological problem with Israel.

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Other films haven't made it into Lebanese movie theaters for their alleged or real ties with Israel, regardless of the production's place of origin.

Spielberg was formally placed on an Arab League blacklist of sanctioned individuals in 2006 after donating money to the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles and to the Israeli New Israel Fund in order to help Israelis left homeless by fighting with Lebanon's Hezbollah movement.

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

"This is an awesome development, and to the best of my knowledge, unprecedented in Lebanon", Gino Raidy, of the anti-censorship group March, wrote on his blog. It seems that anything remotely connected to Israel can get banned in Lebanon. It is based on a book by a former Israeli navy serviceman about his travels in the Amazon rainforest.

Wonder Woman might belong to an imaginary all-female race living on an invisible island called Themyscira, but since she was portrayed by Israeli actress Gal Gadot, that was enough reason for Wonder Woman and Justice League to be banned in Lebanon.