Lebanon's Hariri orders overturn of ban on Spielberg's 'The Post'

Carla Harmon
January 18, 2018

A ban in Lebanon on Steven Spielberg's "The Post" was overruled Wednesday by Prime Minister Saad Hariri in what appears to be the first time a film has surmounted a negative recommendation by Lebanese censors. Despite the movie initially passing the country's government-run screening process, the General Security Directorate had rejected it earlier this week over Spielberg's ties to Israel.

The film, starring Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks, tells the story of the Washington Post's efforts to publish the Pentagon Papers, classified documents that revealed the failures of the US war in Vietnam. The problem: it's a film by Steven Spielberg.

Spielberg has reportedly been included on the list for donating $1 million to Israel during the Second Lebanon War in 2006, and for shooting some of the scenes of Academy Award-winning Schindler's List in Jerusalem, the contested city coveted by both the Israelis and the Palestinians. The matter has now been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could still overturn the decision. 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. Doueiri was questioned about his previous film, "The Attack", which was partly shot in Israel.

"I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens", she wrote. That is why it is so troubling to see it ban movies including The Post, which is a stirring story of overcoming government censorship and uncovering lies and government duplicity.

The two countries are still technically in a state of war.

Unlike Gal Gadot, whose film Wonder Woman was banned in Lebanon in May, Spielberg is not an Israeli citizen, nor has he ever fought with the Israeli Army.

"We are glad and pleased that justice, reason, and love of cinema has prevailed", the spokesman said, adding that he wanted to "thank everyone involved in the strong, united large popular support movement", including press, bloggers, and other opinion-makers who rallied in support of "The Post" after news of the ban broke.

The film will be released on January 18th in Lebanon.

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