Orli’s Take on the Marvel’s Israeli- Palestinian Controversy

Palestinians are pointing fingers at the Jews for being insensitive to the topic of the Sabra-Shatila massacre, a crime that “Jews stood by” for. Over the course of three days, Phalangists—  Lebanese Christians— shot thousands of Palestinian rebels and criminals, and this was one of the most scaring events in Palestinian history. Even then, after the massacre, Jews were blamed because although it was the Christians who did the act, the Jews stood by and did nothing. While we all know never to be a bystander to a bully, it is certainly not acceptable to paint us as the villain in that story. In all of history, everyone’s first move in a bad situation is blaming the Jews. After World War I, the first instinct was to blame the Jews for Germany’s debts. Similarly, here, the first instinct was to blame the Jews even though the Christians were the ones to initially kill the thousands of Palestinians. So if Palestinians don’t want to be stereotyped in the adaptation, does that just mean that they want Jews to be villainized? 

In an interview with Variety Magazines, Marvel stated that they are taking a “new approach” with Sabra. But what does this mean for the character? Will Marvel paint Sabra as a villain and introduce inappropriate, Anti-Semitic ideas about the character, and moreover, about Israel? Sabra’s character was created in a different time; a time before the two intifadas, the crumbling of the Oslo Accords, and the Sabra-Shatila Massacre in Lebanon. Can Sabra represent a character who does good for Israel while representing bad things for another nation? What kind of name would this give Israelis? Will it put Israel in a negative light?

As a huge Marvel fan myself, I am ecstatic to see this film and the representation of Sabra by Shira Hass, an Israeli-born actress. Marvel never seems to disappoint with their films and the story arcs they give their characters. I am anxiously awaiting the release of this film to see how they represent the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The name of the movie: New World Order, suggests to me that the protagonist, Captain America, will try to resolve a conflict that takes more than one mind, one set of hands, and one heart. This potential storyline may anger more than just one party in the century-long strife. 

Marvel never fails to give us an amazing film, and I pray that this movie gives many dimensions to the complicated conflict.