Gal Gadot isn’t Wonder Woman.
The cruel and unusual irony of a Pro-IDF actress playing the iconic Pro-Peace Warrior Princess.
Wonder Woman (2017), for the most part, will be and is a win for women in the Hollywood. Box office revenue predictions aside, the big budget blockbuster is helmed by Patty Jenkins, crafted and brought to screens by women. That’s a win.
Its cast features multiple visible women of colour as Amazons and men of colour in the ranks of WW1. That’s a win. Despite engaging in shallow efforts to be diverse which you can read in my think piece linked here.
The large majority of views are positive boding well for the DCEU’s future. What’s not boding well is how the actress who plays Wonder Woman is against what the character stands for.
What doesn’t bode well either is how the general public, self-proclaimed feminists, and fans are either oblivious to her views or more concerned about Gadot’s armpit hair and cup size rather than her Pro-IDF views. On top of that, her service in the Israeli Defence Forces has been a key factor in marketing Gadot to the world.
“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! #weareright #freegazafromhamas #stopterror #coexistance #loveidf”
Screenshot from the Independent UK, the post has since been deleted off the star’s social media accounts.
As reported by Amnesty International, there’s no shortage of evidence that occupation of Palestinian land has resulted in an Apartheid state. Plus the trope that extremists use human shields has been disproven, more on evidence on this can be found in an earlier piece entitled Wonder Woman on Gaza.
Posted in the summer of 2014, where the world was taken aback by the brutal bombing Israeli forces inflicted on Gaza — especially women and children.
As Wonder Woman, Gal passionately asserts herself as protecting women and children, but the caption in her post, her beliefs, are clearly not about all innocents.
This isn’t just about 2014, this is about the 69 years that Palestine has been ravaged. Palestine’s women, children and families have bore the brunt of death, destruction, and despair.
When faced with questions surrounding the her insensitive statements, she’s left them unanswered and accusations of racism and zionism unaddressed.
Later, in 2016 around the release of Batman v Superman, her interview with Glamour is about the furthest she elaborated on her service as a combat trainer.
“I wish no country had the need for an army. But in Israel serving is part of being an Israeli. You’ve got to give back to the state. You give two or three years, and it’s not about you. You give your freedom away. You learn discipline and respect.”
Although conscripted in, but Gadot’s views are unapologetic and with the platform granted it’s dangerous.
Gadot paints a naive picture of service in the IDF, where giving back is benevolent, rather than resulting in a complicity in criminal acts. It’s erasure of how grave the occupation of Palestine really is. It’s contrary to the courage, accountability, and responsibility to justice that Diana has demonstrated again and again. Diana is driven by the call to justice, but her actress turns her back to it. These core values of the character don’t make an appearance in the actresses own beliefs. Wonder Woman, at her core, symbolizes truth. The truth which Gal Gadot adamantly denies avoids and erases. Truth knows that since 1948, the state of Israel has systematically displaced, massacred and imprisoned vulnerable children and civilians at large.
Gadot’s introduction to the world has been championed with the fact she’s been a part of the IDF, which makes her hopelessly plain in Israel. Her involvement in the military wasn’t voluntary, as conscription exists in modern Israel. Any assumption that she was involved out of any incline of nationalism is a stretch.
Not to mention that the practices of the IDF are well documented and discipline is the last thing that ex-solidiers testify.
Testimonies from Breaking the Silence, an organization of ex-IDF members dedicated to exposing the brutality, corruption again and again. Practices of looting, abuse against the occupied, and killing of unarmed citizens are again documented.
So where does that leave Wonder Woman fans, intersectional feminists and those in solidarity with the Palestinian Struggle? As the world will see the movie, there will be a solid chunk of individuals who will choose not to support Gal Gadot.
The director, the cast, the historical precedent of the film are reason enough for some to attend theaters across continents and oceans.
Many of people want to whole heartedly support this film but are conflicted.
Some will see it but with reservations. And those who do see it and are aware of her attitudes won’t help but be struck by the absurdity of it all.
Many will go forth watching this film unaware.
As Gadot becomes synonymous with the character for the foreseen future, the best thing to do is remember that Gal Gadot portrays Wonder Woman, she is not Wonder Woman.
Author: Amal Matan
Editor: Han Angus