Photo: Gabriela Braga on Unsplash
'Wonder Woman,' released June 2nd, has received worldwide attention. As the first superhero movie in over a decade to feature a woman as the lead and title role, Wonder Woman has attracted rave reviews from many feminists. Some, however, balk at supporting the film. This is because Gal Gadot, the lead actress, is from Israel, and has been vocal about her support for the Israeli military. Because of this, she has been attacked for being a Zionist, but what is Zionism?
Zionism is defined as the movement for the return of the Jewish people to their homeland and the resumption of Jewish sovereignty in the land of Israel. Modern Zionism began in the late 19th century, in response to anti-Semitic attitudes of the time. In 1935, Hitler passed the Nuremberg Laws, which made German, Czech, and Austrian Jews stateless refugees. During this time, the desire for a Jewish state became more pronounced. After World War II, the state of Israel was formed. This required the exodus of Palestinians living there. Since then, there has been conflict between Israel and Palestine over who gets the land. Read more on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict here.
Gadot has been criticized because of her support for Israel and the Israeli military, due to the country's longstanding conflict with Palestine. Because Israel requires its citizens to serve in the military for two years, Gadot has served in the Israel Defense Forces. This has been misinterpreted by many as support for conflict with Palestine, or as racism against Palestinians. However, these are unfair assumptions to make about Gadot, or anyone else who has served in the IDF. Gadot has never said she supports any of those things, and has only ever voiced her support for her country and the military she served in. Additionally, her maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors. Her support for Israel is understandable.
This is not a piece supporting or condemning Israel or Palestine, as it is a complex issue with well-meaning people on both sides; however, it is unfair to Gal Gadot to say she is not allowed to support her homeland or to claim that she supports matters about which she has never spoken. Her birthplace and her service in the military should not mean that she should not play Wonder Woman, or that it’s wrong to watch the movie.
'Wonder Woman' is a gorgeous film with a talented cast and director. It completely subverts the sexism usually seen in superhero movies. Diana is strong and tough, but also kind, optimistic, and empathetic.
My take? It’s a great film, and if you want to watch it, you should. If you’re concerned about Gal Gadot’s beliefs, do some research. Find out what Zionism really is, and what Gadot has actually said about the matter.
Eve is an avid writer based in the Sunshine State. She enjoys reading, writing, playing with her cats, and participating in Mock Trial. In the future, she plans to go to law school to pursue a career as a district attorney.