This week will be the release of ‘Wonder Woman’, an action film starring a fearless heroine played by Gal Gadot. I’ve been anticipating the premiere since last summer. Retrospectively, ‘Wonder Woman’ is what we need right now to give us a short release from the constant attack on women during the Trump presidency. Hillary Clinton was supposed to be our female heroine who beats the impious orange monster (Donald Trump). Sadly, however, it didn’t turn out that way. In the past year, the support for ‘Wonder Woman’ has only grown louder. In the midst of all the excitement, we were introduced to the actress playing Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot.
Gal Gadot’s role as Wonder Woman has caused a lot of controversy among feminists and social justice activist alike. There has been extensive speculation around whether Gal is a zionist.. The country of Lebanon has called for ‘Wonder Woman’ to be banned due to it having an Isreali lead actress. This all makes ‘Wonder Woman’ a controversial movie in all the wrong ways.
Zionism is “the a movement for (originally) the re-establishment and (now) the development and protection of a Jewish nation in what is now Israel.” Zionism is the belief that the Palestinian’s land should be occupied by only Jewish people. There’s an ongoing debate whether Zionism is right or wrong. Regardless of your stance, Palestinians and Jews have been fighting over the land known as Israel for years now and there has been a lot of bloodshed.
Gal Gadot’s history with Israel is extensive. On July 25, 2014, she made a post on Facebook supporting Israel and the Israel Defense Force calling Hamas cowards and claiming they hide behind women and children, hashtaging #LoveIDF.
Gal was born in Rosh Haayin, Israel and grew up in a Jewish household, so her loyalty to Israel is to be expected. In an interview with the website Totally Jewish she says, “I definitely have a strong sense of my Jewish and Israeli identity,” she continues “I was brought up in a very Jewish, Israeli family environment, so of course my heritage is very important to me. I want people to have a good impression of Israel.” Is having pride in your heritage and country wrong? Absolutely not. In addition to supporting the Israel Defense Force, she actually served two years as a soldier. Israel is the only nation that requires military enlistment for women. Although enlistment is mandatory, Gal’s continued support for the IDF
Gal’s history of support for Israel makes many uncomfortable, including me. This creates such a big divide for feminists. ‘Wonder Woman’ is a great movie with a female lead. By supporting it and breaking Box Office records, it will create a lane for more female lead movies to be produced. If we allow it to flop, the studio will blame the failure on being female-led movie as to why it didn’t generate enough revenue. Wonder Woman herself historically is a feminist, so it isn’t very feminist of Gal Gadot to support the IDF. The complexity of this situation tugs at the morals of women who want to be allies. How can you say you support Palestinians when you’re directly supporting a woman who is speculated to be a zionist? You’re directly putting money in her pockets. Gal signed on to do three Wonder Woman movies for $300,000 a piece.
Despite all of this, I will be supporting ‘Wonder Woman’ in theaters. Do I feel terrible? Of course, as a minority I empathize with the Palestinians, but at the same time as a woman, I understand just how hard it is getting films with women as a female lead. At the same time, Gal’s undying loyalty for the IDF and Israel is not something we can simply decide to ignore or look away from, especially when innocent people are being killed at the hands of the IDF. Whether Gal is in fact Zionist or not, is up to interpretation. We need to continue to pursue the truth when it comes to Gal’s stance on zionism. Is it hypocritical for feminists to support a film starring a woman who supports the killing of Palestinian? Yes, it is. Do I feel guilty as hell? Yes, and does this make me a bad person? Maybe. Separating the person from the art is possible and an important distinction. Culturally this movie is important. It’s completely possible to enjoy the movie, but call out Gal Gadot.