Hollywood’s universe of comic book superheroes added a new member last weekend when Wonder Woman opened at the box office. Wall Street Journal’s film critic Joe Morgenstern lauded it as “the best that Hollywood can deliver,” but many on social media were left perplexed as to why the best actress Hollywood could think of to play Wonder Woman, a character meant to be empowering for young women, is a former conscript in a military entering its 50th year as an occupier of a subjugated people.

In Wonder Woman, actress Gal Gadot’s character dons a cape and armor and defends the peace and justice of the underdog. In real life, Gadot wore the uniform of Israel’s occupation forces and defended unjust and brutal policies against Palestinians.

Gadot is playing a fictional character, and no one expects Hollywood casting to dovetail with the real-life conduct of its actors. But, for many, the contradiction between Wonder Woman’s persona and Gadot’s service in a military occupation characterized by Human Rights Watch as one defined by its “unlawful killings; forced displacement; [and] abusive detention” was too glaring to simply overlook for 2 hours and 21 minutes.

As an Israeli army officer, Gadot served as an ambassador for one of the first “Brand Israel” campaigns, which are designed to distort the cruel reality of Israel by recasting it as a hip, liberal playground. In a 2007 photospread organized by the Israeli consulate in New York, Gadot and fellow female soldiers posed as the “Women of the IDF” in the American men’s magazine Maxim to titillate and influence impressionable young men by presenting the IDF as a bunch of hot babes with machine guns deserving of their admiration. And, during Israel’s 2014 offensive against Gaza, Gadot shared a messaged on her official Facebook page absolving Israel of any blame for the mounting civilian death toll.

The New York Times called women-only screenings of Wonder Woman an act of “solidarity,” but for many feminists that act of solidarity was selective. Gadot has never expressed solidarity with the Palestinian mothers forced to give birth at Israeli military checkpoints or any Palestinian women who have suffered at the hands of the armed forces she was proud to serve and for which she has declared her love. That was absent from the Times’ idea of solidarity. Even The New Republic‘s criticism of Wonder Woman as propaganda in the cause of “American military ideology” entirely omitted any mention of Palestine or Gadot’s role as a propagandist for Brand Israel and its military ideology.

If this is solidarity, it is a very Hollywood version of it: One where minority characters are ignored and critical plot points have been banished for the sake of a contrived happy ending. But this is real life, and many wanted to tell the whole story.

Regarding the controversy (in the Arab world but not in the US) about the new Wonder Woman movie:It is rather…

Posted by Asad Abukhalil on Saturday, June 3, 2017


I have so many thoughts on Wonder Woman (yes, I saw it) and the apartheid state that the world's newest incarnation of…

Posted by Jessica Austin on Tuesday, June 6, 2017

And some argued that the real Wonder Woman would have never served in the Israeli occupation forces.

I am sorry they picked her to play Wonder Woman. :("She ruined Wonder Woman for me, there is only one Wonder Woman,…

Posted by Malik Amen on Wednesday, June 7, 2017


1 Comment

  1. As much as I find Gal Gadot’s politics deplorable, she is not inserting them into the movie. There is no institutional or academic link to Israel that I could see in the film’s credits (although I may have missed something) – I did not see Arnon Milchan’s name, for example. He is a well-known Hollywood producer and Israeli arms dealer. Outside the Arab countries, no BDS chapter is boycotting Wonder Woman.

    There is a subversive message in the movie – that your boss you think of as the good guy could well be Ares, the evil god of war. Instead of boycotting the movie, picket Gal Gadot’s next public appearance with the chant, “Bibi is Ares”. Perhaps that will make her think.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.