'Wikileaks: Spielberg movies banned by Arab League'

Cable details published by 'Guardian' reveal Arab countries approved boycott after director gave $1m. to Israel during Second Lebanon War.

December 18, 2010 05:03
2 minute read.
Hollywood director Steven Spielberg

311_Steven Spielberg. (photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)


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After making a $1m. donation to Israel during the 2006 Second Lebanon War, Steven Spielberg was blacklisted by the Arab League's Central Boycott Office. At least that is what the contents of US diplomatic cable sent from Damascus in 2007 said, The Guardian newspaper reported on Friday.

The British paper said that the cable released by WikiLeaks revealed that a meeting was held by the Arab League's Central Boycott Office in April 2007 during which the 14 Arab states attending voted to ban the sale of films or other products made by or directly connected to the prominent American Jewish director.

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The cable in particular describes a briefing given to a US official by the head of the Syrian regional office for the boycott against Israel, Muhammad al-Ajami. Ajami stated that the nation's of Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon, Kuwait, Libya, Morocco, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Syria, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen, and also the Palestinian Authority, agreed to ban all of Spielberg's works within their respective territories, The Guardian quoted the cable as saying.

The latest Wikileaks cable from Damascus is not the first US diplomatic correspondence to note the importance attached to film and other Western entertainment products within the Arab world.

Over a week ago, Wikileaks released on the web a cable from the US Embassy in Riyadh that described how American films and television shows, such as the Late Show with David Letterman, Friends and Desperate Housewives have helped persuade Saudi youth to reject extremism.

The cable, which was sent in May 2009 from Riyadh and titled "Ideological and Ownership Trends in the Saudi Media," featured a section called "David Letterman, Agent of Influence."

Click here for full Jpost coverage of the 
latest Wikileaks

It seems as far as the Arab world - or Saudi Arabia at the very least - is concerned, US comedian David Letterman gets the royal thumbs ups, while Spielberg isn't on the admittance list.

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