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Here's Why A Muslim Editor Called Out A Company For Working With Gal Gadot

Numerous people have recently spoken out against working with the Israeli actor.

Last updated on January 23, 2018, at 4:21 a.m. ET

Posted on January 22, 2018, at 8:28 a.m. ET

Last week, Amani al-Khatahtbeh, the creator of MuslimGirl magazine, announced she would not be accepting Revlon's Changemaker award.

This is why I won't be accepting @revlon's Changemaker Award celebrating their new campaign with @GalGadot.

In a letter posted to her Twitter, Khatahtbeh said as much as she'd love to accept the award, she would be refusing it due to the brand’s association with Israeli actor Gal Gadot, who in the past has supported the Israeli Defense Forces.

Lucas Jackson / Reuters

Amani also spoke in support of Ahed Tamimi, a 16-year-old currently imprisoned for protesting the Israeli occupation of Gaza.

Gadot was born in Israel and participated in mandatory military service when she was 20, during the 2006 war with Lebanon. During her time in the IDF, she appeared in a Maxim shoot about the women in the military.Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Khatahtbeh, who is of Jordanian and Palestinian descent, said that she feels Gadot should use her platform to "call on justice and equality for all women and denounce violence against them in all its forms.""Nobody can be a voice for the voiceless," she said. "But ultimately, we all have an obligation to use our platforms and the resources we have available to us to empower the voices of those who are silenced."She said that the award would have been valuable as Muslim women often lack visibility is the media, but she "didn't feel that accepting it was worth the cost of normalizing violence against girls."
Twitter: @xoamani

Gadot was born in Israel and participated in mandatory military service when she was 20, during the 2006 war with Lebanon. During her time in the IDF, she appeared in a Maxim shoot about the women in the military.

Speaking to BuzzFeed News, Khatahtbeh, who is of Jordanian and Palestinian descent, said that she feels Gadot should use her platform to "call on justice and equality for all women and denounce violence against them in all its forms."

"Nobody can be a voice for the voiceless," she said. "But ultimately, we all have an obligation to use our platforms and the resources we have available to us to empower the voices of those who are silenced."

She said that the award would have been valuable as Muslim women often lack visibility is the media, but she "didn't feel that accepting it was worth the cost of normalizing violence against girls."

The incident is just one example of the backlash that's been building online against Gadot.

When she was announced for the role of Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe, people objecting to her casting shared the above 2014 Facebook post, in which Gadot shared pro-IDF, anti-Hamas statements. Although Gadot has mostly steered clear of discussing her time in the military, she did briefly discuss it in a 2015 interview with Fashion magazine shortly after she was cast as Wonder Woman. “The army wasn’t that difficult for me. The military gave me good training for Hollywood,” she told the magazine. Despite the criticism, her Facebook post remains up.
Facebook: GalGadot

When she was announced for the role of Wonder Woman in the DC Extended Universe, people objecting to her casting shared the above 2014 Facebook post, in which Gadot shared pro-IDF, anti-Hamas statements.

Although Gadot has mostly steered clear of discussing her time in the military, she did briefly discuss it in a 2015 interview with Fashion magazine shortly after she was cast as Wonder Woman.

“The army wasn’t that difficult for me. The military gave me good training for Hollywood,” she told the magazine. Despite the criticism, her Facebook post remains up.

When the Wonder Woman film was released, Lebanon's Ministry of Economy confirmed it was banning screenings due to Gadot's nationality.

The Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon petitioned against the film, which it referred to as the “Israeli Soldier” movie, and celebrated when Lebanon banned it.

Among those caught up in ensuing fallout were US actor Gina Rodriguez, who initially tweeted that the ban "sucks" and expressed support of Gadot. After a backlash she deleted her tweet and apologized for her message, tweeting, "Yikes. Thanks for educating me y'all and being kind about it."

Ahead of Wonder Woman's release, the Lebanese government was also petitioned by the Campaign to Boycott Supporters of Israel-Lebanon to ban Superman v Batman, as it featured Gadot. The film was released in the country, despite the controversy.

Lebanon was not the only country to ban Wonder Woman. Qatari cinemas confirmed they would not be screening the film, but declined to comment on why.

Tunisia also banned the film, with a court ruling against screening it because it starred a former IDF soldier, the Independent reported. Prior to the court decision, the Tunisian Association of Young Lawyers, petitioning for the film's ban, described Gadot as a "champion Zionist."

Many celebrities — such as Mark Ruffalo — have avoided direct criticism of Gadot but have been careful to distance themselves from the actor.

Looking forward to the Marvel/DC crossover sequel so the Hulk can set Wonder Woman straight.

People criticized Gadot and called for a boycott of the film.

#BoycottWonderWoman played by Gal Gadot, an Israeli who served in the military and supports the genocide of Palesti… https://t.co/zcHOLJGjuo

Ban that shit. #BoycottWonderWoman https://t.co/9TmClwbMdE

Despite the criticism, Wonder Woman was a massive success (both critically and commercially) and Gadot continues to be promoted as a feminist icon.

When Gadot accepted her Critics' Choice Award, her speech — on female empowerment around the #SeeHer movement — was lauded as a huge success.
Mario Anzuoni / Reuters

When Gadot accepted her Critics' Choice Award, her speech — on female empowerment around the #SeeHer movement — was lauded as a huge success.

Earlier this month, Lebanese designer Elie Saab shared a photo on Instagram, complimenting Gadot in one of his dresses. The post has since been deleted, but the company received numerous complaints about it.

I don’t have a problem with her wearing @ElieSaabWorld but I do have a problem with posting her picture from Elie S… https://t.co/aE7f5OARKg

Last week, an Israeli town took a stand last week against the building global backlash by naming a cinema after Gadot.

Upper Nazareth's new two-screen cinema will be called the Gal cinema, a municipal spokesperson told AFP, because "she brings honor to this country."

"This is a message for our young people because Gal Gadot is an example of success, who has shown that dreams can be attained," Orna Yosef said.

The reaction to Gadot isn't new. For years, Hollywood figures with connections to Israel have been criticized, sometimes with commercial implications.

In 2014, Scarlet Johansson quit her role as an ambassador to Oxfam after it criticized her for working with SodaStream, a company with offices in the West Bank.

This month, Steven Spielberg's film The Post was briefly banned in Lebanon due to the director's ties to Israel.

But for Khatahtbeh, who declined the Revlon award, celebrities should be thoughtful about their public actions. "Social media is raising the bar of what we should expect from the brands and celebrities we consume," she said.

"Young people care a lot about the morals and values they support, so it's important for us to always be vocal if we want to be counted. Change never came about from assuming stagnation."

BuzzFeed News has contacted Gadot's representatives, Revlon, and Elie Saab for comment.

UPDATE

Following al-Khatahtbeh’s decision to decline Revlon’s award, two publications – TabletMag and the Jerusalem Post – ran pieces that highlighted a number of her previous tweets and an article published in MuslimGirl. TabletMag stated her previous comments were anti-Semitic, while the Jerusalem Post said al-Khatanhtbeh's posts were anti the state of Israel. BuzzFeed News has contacted al-Khatahtbeh for comment.

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