The new film Death on the Nile has been banned in Kuwait due to star actress Gal Gadot, simply because she is Israeli.
Kuwait’s Information Ministry spokeswoman, Anouar Mourad, confirmed the news to AFP this week, following rumors on social media and a report in Kuwait’s Al-Qabas newspaper. Accusations against the actress included Gadot’s praise of Israel’s military and criticisms of Hamas.
Gadot is best known for her role as the star of Wonder Woman, a film that was also banned in some Arab nations, as well as Wonder Woman 1984, released in 2020.
The actress was the third-highest paid woman in Hollywood in 2020, but has continued to face a variety of criticisms because of her identity. For example, in 2020 Gadot was criticized for landing the lead role in a film about Cleopatra over her being a Jew.
For some Arab nations, the boycott of Gadot’s latest film is connected to the antisemitic Palestinian campaign of the BDS movement, which seeks to destroy Israel by boycotting, divesting and sanctioning Israeli products and services, while it masquerades as a show of support to the Palestinian people.
While boycotts of films starring Jewish actors or actresses are nothing new in many Arab countries, the latest ban strikes a strong contrast with the recent partnerships made among several nations in the Middle East related to the Abraham Accords signed in 2020.
Though some have called for Kuwait to join in the Abraham Accords, the nation has showed little effort to join the normalization agreement. Despite this reluctance, the nation was a major part of American Middle East policy after Saddam Hussein led Iraq to invade Kuwait in 1990.
The US-led military coalition came to Kuwait’s support and pushed Iraq’s presence back beyond Kuwait’s border. This support returned years later during a second conflict in Iraq that led to a long-term US military presence. Despite its long association with the world’s greatest democracy, not all of America’s values have penetrated Kuwait’s leadership, which retains its traditional antisemitic attitude, as expressed in joining boycotts against a Jewish actress.