Lebanon Bans 'The Post' Over Director Spielberg Being on 'Boycott Israel' List

Lebanese authorities have banned Steven Spielberg's latest film, the political thriller "The Post", an official said on Monday. The film has been refused a release because it breaches a boycott Israel directive maintained by the Lebanese government.

The country is officially at war with Israel and has a law that boycotts Israeli products and bars Lebanese citizens from travelling to Israel or having contact with Israeli citizens.

Starring Hollywood heavyweights Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, the film has been hailed for using star power to highlight the virtues of a free press.

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The matter has now been transferred to Lebanon's Minister of Interior and Municipalities, who could still overturn the decision. Lebanon does not recognize Israel as a country and boycotts its goods and cultural exports. Lebanon banned the film upon its release in 1993.

Spielberg is not an Israeli citizen.

Set in the early 1970s, The Post centers on the journalists of the Washington Post and the New York Times who uncovered the Pentagon Papers, secret documents that revealed information about the USA government's involvement in the Vietnam War.

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At least five films - directed or produced by Spielberg - screened in Lebanon following approval by the censorship board during the past three years, including "Bridge of Spies" and "Transformers", to name a few.

It remains unclear why "The Post" is being banned _ recent Spielberg movies have been shown in Lebanon - but a leaked U.S. State Department memo from 2007 revealed that Spielberg was blacklisted by the Arab League for supporting Israel.

Last year, Lebanon banned Hollywood blockbuster "Wonder Woman" because lead actress Gal Gadot had served in Israel's military.

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