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Proxy War of Themyscira and Lebanon

Mere hours before its official release, the Wonder Woman movie has been banned by the Lebanese government. While idiots and amateurs alike have been quick to presume antisemitism as reasoning for the ban, as the movie’s leggy star Gal Gadot is herself an Israeli-born Jew, the truth of the matter is a cause for concern over her politics far more than where she is from or how she practices her religion. And considering how William Moulton Marston, the creator of the fictional character she portrays, also invented one of the core components for the modern polygraph, truth carries more than water.

From 2005 to 2007, Gadot served in the Israeli army, as well as worked as a combat trainer for the Israeli Defense Forces. During this same period, Israel was engaged in heavy bombing campaigns against Hezbollah forces in Lebanon. The Associated Press reported civilian casualties among the Lebanese people at over a thousand, while UNICEF estimated that 30% of all Lebanese killed were children under the age of 13. While these statistics seem to be overlooked by many of those reporting on the story, what is being drudged up instead are claims that, had Gadot played any role in the bombing at all she was only acting in accordance with her enlistment, and that Lebanon had actually been at war with Israel since the 1940s. So audiences are informed that the Lebanese Armed Forces, with 72,000 active personnel and a military budget of $1.275 billion, are the unprovoked interlopers against the Israeli Defense Forces, with 176,500 active personnel and a military budget of $18.6 billion. Poor, defenseless Israel, bravely suffering along with nearly thrice the manpower and nearly fifteen times the budget, and also nukes.

Unlike Israel, Lebanon does not subject its citizens to conscription service. Some say that Gadot’s own conscription ended years ago and that any boycotts of her or her work are uncalled for. The Nuremberg principles would suggest otherwise. More directly, since undressing from her military fatigues a full decade ago she has continuously used her escalating soapbox to offer vocal support for the ongoing endeavors of the IDF. In 2014, when the Israeli government was bombing the holy hell out of the residents of Gaza, the Israelis themselves enthusiastically watched these bomb strikes with the same zeal as those tailgating for the Kentucky Derby. Even Israeli Intelligence admits that more than 50% of the casualties in Gaza were civilians, yet Gadot expressed her support of the IDF troops, blaming the Palestinians for the bombs dropped on their own women and children. This is what voices in the Lebanon government object to, not her bloodline but her bloodlust.

In the comic book backstory the character of Diana of Themyscira, alter ego of Wonder Woman, was molded from clay, comparable to the golem of Jewish folklore. Yet the latest actress to sport the super-heroine’s colorful battledress is not the only one in this drama to have feet of clay. It feels like only recently have folks begun scratching their heads over the political activities of past and present billionaires whose business dealings represent supreme influence over Marvel Comics, such as Ike Perlmutter, Haim Saban and Avi Arad. But the publisher of Wonder Woman, DC Comics, and its parent company Time Warner, which owns all representations of the character, have their own relations with political billionaires in the plastic form of Steve Mnuchin. Mnuchin’s production company has produced the last several superhero movies for Time Warner, and during this same period he also worked as the finance chairman for the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. The fundraising populated by his Rolodex of Hollywood contacts resulted in his current status as the United States Secretary of the Treasury.

And within weeks of attaining his governmental post he has made it abundantly clear that he is either unable or unwilling to separate his business interests from his political position, with one senator already calling for an ethics probe. Indeed, even before his appointment into the presidential cabinet Mnuchin was questioned by a different senator over his failure to fully disclose the extent of his involvement in an off-shore tax haven, and since moving to Washington he has refused to give up his own presidency of an investment firm, in direct conflict with his office in government. The entire Trump administration is currently warring with the Office of Government Ethics over refusing any disclosure of “ethics waivers” granted to former lobbyists, essentially preferring the landscape of bribery to accountability or transparency.

It anything, it is exceedingly curious that the present U.S. Secretary of the Treasury should object to a closer look of financial gifts made to and from sitting politicians, when his own movie production business partner, James Packer, is currently under investigation elsewhere concerning illicit transactions with…Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Who by no stretch of the imagination is a stranger to meddling in American politics. Or to exhibiting bloodlust himself. After the United Nations Security Council issued a non-binding resolution critical of Israeli settlements built on occupied Palestinian land, Netanyahu’s administration’s fast response was to sever all civil and diplomatic contacts with the Palestinian government, in yet a further bitch-slap to the face of international law.

Ironically, the United Nations had just dropped the Wonder Woman character from its brief stint as an ambassador, following the expectantly obvious public outcry that perhaps a sexualized corporate icon was probably not the wisest choice to represent female empowerment internationally. Meanwhile, the proprietors of the character would probably sell a licensed Invisible Jet brand sexual lubricant if they thought it’d score a buck.

Case in point, DC Comics are announcing June 3 as Wonder Woman Day, to commemorate the global release of the related movie in question. Which is itself offensive for those in the know, as the label of Wonder Woman Day had for a few years been used in conjunction with a nonprofit charity event begat by writer and thoroughly devout Wonder Woman fan, Andy Mangels. His idea was, in support of Domestic Violence Awareness month every October, for comic book shops to host a special weekend event, where comic book artists would come out to participate in signings while their original artwork featuring the character was auctioned off, with all proceeds going to regional networks such as abuse hotlines and shelters. Fans and professionals got to meet and greet one another, the stores experienced an influx of new faces, and charities found assistance. But since all proceeds gone to charity amounted to nothing leftover for DC Comics to claim, he was eventually met with the inevitable cease and desist orders, in spite of tens of thousands of dollars raised across multiple cities in the years of the event. Unless DC Comics was making a profit, it was wholly disinterested in any of its intellectual properties being used for any other purpose, even in terms of raising desperately-needed funds for crisis support and literal female empowerment. So for the title of Wonder Woman Day to be transposed from that, to a fucking movie opening, says quite a lot.

It also means that when the short-lived arrangement with the United Nations later occurred, Time Warner was more than likely getting something for the trouble, like donations to human rights efforts going instead to corporate sponsors. So fuck Gal Gadot. Fuck Benjamin Netanyahu, fuck Steve Mnuchin, fuck DC Comics, and fuck the Wonder Woman movie. They are merchants of death, profiting from turmoil, and more trash culture.