We are troubled by the distasteful announcement that an upcoming Marvel movie, Captain America: New World Order, will feature an Israeli Mossad agent named “Sabra” as a superhero. The character is described in the original cartoons as a “superheroine of the state of Israel,” a state that is recognized by the entire human rights community as an apartheid regime, guilty of ongoing war crimes and crimes against humanity against the Palestinian people.
Israel’s Mossad is an intelligence agency notorious for carrying out torture and extrajudicial assassinations, and whose agents have been placed on Interpol’s ‘most wanted’ list for using fraudulent passports to commit murder, but who have never faced accountability for their crimes.
For Marvel and its parent company Disney to promote a character that not only normalizes an apartheid government and its murderous intelligence agency, but heroizes and lionizes them is deeply troubling, and to do this at a time when Israel’s apartheid government is under scrutiny and pressure for its onslaught against Palestinians raises serious concerns about the values guiding this entire franchise.
It is also noteworthy that, for millions of people throughout the Middle East and beyond, the word “Sabra” immediately evokes the memory of the massacre of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila camps in Lebanon, who were brutalized and murdered by the hundreds, if not thousands, with assistance from the Israeli military. An Israeli inquiry laid “personal responsibility” at the feet of an Israeli military commander and a future prime minister of Israel’s apartheid government, Ariel Sharon, who is also remembered as “the butcher of Sabra and Shatila.”
We call on Disney & Marvel Studios to immediately reverse the harm it has caused and to immediately cancel the thoughtless plan to feature “Sabra” in its upcoming Marvel film.
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