Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

Wonder Woman offers support to the Israeli campaign in Gaza

Gal Gadot has unreservedly backed the IDF and almost nobody has noticed

Mon, Jul 28, 2014, 23:39


You may not be aware (and, if so, good luck to you) that the annual corporate orgy that is Comic-Con has just ground to a halt in San Diego. The event began as an admirable convention for comic-book fans, but has, over the last few decades, evolved into a full-on Geek Rally at which fans gratefully lap up promotional material from the TV networks and film studios. A glimpse of footage from Batman Versus Superman is all that is needed to generate a mass swoon. Somehow or other a trade fair has taken on the quality of a cultural phenomenon.

Anyway, one of the “events” this year was the release of a photograph depicting Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman in, yes, Batman Versus Superman. (You can see it above if you give a hoot.) We are constantly told that movie stars are, these days, under intense, exhausting pressure from the media. They can’t open their mouths without every phrase being taken out of context and plastered unfairly in misleading subheadings. Really?

Ms Gadot has an unusual background for an actor. Born and raised in Israel, she managed to work as a model while serving in that country’s defence forces. Tougher than the rest, she did all her own stunts in Fast and Furious films and, likely as not, could hammer you into the ground as soon as look at you. We shouldn’t be altogether surprised that her views on the current conflict in Gaza differ from those of the PLO. Sure enough, on her Facebook page, she posts the following:

“I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom!”

Now, Ms Gadot is entitled to her views. I do not agree with her position, but I have no problem with her expressing herself in these terms. The worry is that almost nobody seems to have raised any objections to her declaration. The Israeli paper Haaretz argued that “Gal Gadot comes under fire for supporting Israeli soldiers in Gaza“.┬áThere was some “fire” certainly. But, beneath that Facebook post, the comments are almost unrelentingly supportive. More significantly, Ms Gadot managed to appear at Comic-Con — shepherded by the good people at Warner Brothers — without any questions being asked about her position. There is little suggestion that her comments are in any sense controversial.

Of course, events such as Comic-Con rarely have much to do with politics. They deal in fantasy culture and — though there are of course many exceptions — fantasy culture too often finds the grime of real life a little distasteful. What is more interesting (and more worrying) is the unquestioning support of Israel among so many in Hollywood. On a recent episode of Real Time with Bill Maher, the otherwise impeccably liberal comic drummed up 100 percent support for the Israel position from his panel. The whole sorry business was Hamas’ fault. He thought it was awful to see photos of dead children, but, well, Israel uses missiles to protect their children, whereas Hamas uses children to protect their missiles. You know the sort of baloney.

Anyway, to reiterate, I have no problem with Ms Gadot expressing her views. I just find it strange that almost nobody feels the urge to question her on the matter. You might have expected Warners to be worrying about boycotts. Don’t fret it. The fun continues unchecked.

Incidentally, for another perspective on the events from a veteran of the Israeli defence forces, check out my interview with Ari Folman from last week. The director of Waltz with Bashir and The Congress was nowhere near so gung-ho.