Image courtesy Gage Skidmore/Flickr
Gal Gadot may have seamlessly brought Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and clear-cut determination back to the big screen, but the ex-soldier’s political stance makes her suitability for the role questionable.
Prior to her acting career, Gadot was conscripted to the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and was serving as an active soldier when Israel bombed Lebanon in 2006. Due to the actor openly endorsing the IDF’s inhumane wartime practice, Lebanon has banned screenings of Wonder Woman and others have urged viewers to boycott the film.
A Quick History Lesson: The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Israel, a Jewish state, currently controls the land in which Palestinians (an Arabic population) wish to establish their own state. The conflict began in the mid-twentieth century after a large proportion of Jewish people fled post-war Europe. They wanted to occupy Palestinian territory, saying they had an ancient claim to it, despite the primarily Arab-Muslim Palestinians already existing living there. Thus, the two groups are in an ongoing conflict over the land and how it’s controlled.
Zionism, Israel’s national ideology, dictates that Judaism deserves its ancestral roots (which travel back to biblical times) in Israel in the same way Chinese people deserve to occupy China; even though Palestinians had lived in “Israel” for centuries. Various conflicts have succeeded since this time. The 1967 war left Israel in charge of the Gaza strip, home to a large Palestinian population. Israeli forces continue to terrorise Palestinian defence teams and civilians alike.
The IDF is widely accepted as one of the world’s most brutal militia; it endorses war-crimes including targeting innocent civilians. Since 1948, Israel has systematically massacred vulnerable women and children. A group of dissenters made up of ex-IDF soldiers, Breaking the Silence, regularly expose the sheer brutality of the Israeli Defence Force. Their activism documents events such as the killing of unarmed citizens, looting, war crimes and the destruction of schools and hospitals.
Gal Gadot has not been shy in her continued support of the IDF, recently stating as such on social media. The following Facebook post has been removed from her Facebook page, however cached versions still exist.
Gadot’s claims that Palestinians are “hiding like cowards beneath women and children” have been disproven. Regardless, there is no excuse for the murder of civilians.
In a world where the media has historically been inundated with women portraying damsels in distress and candid homemakers, roles that showcase strong, independent female leads like Wonder Woman are important. They carry a lot of power on our screens, which means they need to be portrayed genuinely. The idea that Gal Gadot will be known as Wonder Woman for this generation is somewhat disconcerting, given that her ideals differ so strongly from the heroine. Wonder Woman fights for those who cannot defend themselves, not against them.
Perhaps Gal didn’t get the memo.