Censoring Independence Day

The Washington Post reports (12 November, p. D1) that the American science fiction film Independence Day may be banned in Lebanon because scientist David Levinson, the Jeff Goldblum character who saves the planet, is Jewish.

      The Shiite Muslim group Hizbullah has denounced the film, now playing in Lebanon, calling it "propaganda for the so-called genius of the Jews and their concern for humanity." Even many upscale Christian moviegoers in East Beirut are upset that the film's heroes are a Jew and a black man, while some of the Christian white characters have less flattering roles.

      In the version playing in Lebanon, all of the scenes in which the Goldblum character or his father are shown to be Jewish were cut by Lebanese censors before it could be approved by the Interior Ministry's Public Security Department. Also censored were the few seconds in which Israeli troops and Arabs work side by side in the desert to fight the invading aliens.

      Ibrahim Musawi, Hizbullah's foreign press liaison in Beirut, said, "What do you think the Hezbollah would say about this film? We are making the connection that this film, playing in Lebanese cinemas, is polishing and presenting the Jews as a very humane people. You are releasing mistaken images about them." Hizbullah also mysteriously alleges that the film "hints that the source of danger to mankind emanates from certain parts of the Third World, particularly from the Arab and Islamic world." ====



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