We tell you here all the controversy facing the MCU for the inclusion of the character of Sabra, an Israeli heroine
The fourth installment of Captain America it is just beginning to take shape but has already been the center of a fierce controversy. A few days ago, it was announced that the actress of the successful series of Unorthodox: Shira Hass will join the cast of Captain America 4: New World Order like the superheroine Will know.
Sabra is an Israeli mutant with super strength and great combat skills who works for Mossad, the secret intelligence unit of the government of Israel. This caused a wave of controversy in social networks due to the growing tensions that exist between Israel and Palestine, in addition to the fact that the character has been represented in the comics taking specific sides on the war conflict and fighting with racist representations of other ethnic groups, so Marvel promised that his inclusion in the MCU will be very different.
Who is Sabra and what does she have to do with Israel and Palestine?
In an official statement, Marvel assured that “Although our stories are inspired by comics, they are always re-imagined for today’s screen and audience. The filmmakers are taking a new direction for the Sabra character that was introduced more than 40 years ago.”
Sabra first appeared within the comic pages of The Incredible Hulk in 1981 and since then began to cause controversy, since his story was about how the Green Man had to teach her about respect for life and human dignity, since in the story she murder a Palestinian child without remorse.
In addition, his characteristic suit is white and blue with a large star of David in the center, completely resembling the flag of Israel and his enemies are constantly arab stereotypes. Therefore, according to the Institute for Middle East Understanding, a pro-Palestinian non-profit organization:
“This representation glorifies the Israeli police and military. Marvel promotes violence against the Palestinian people and allows the oppression of millions now living under Israeli military rule to continue.”
Another point why people consider the character to be anti-Palestinian is because of his very name: “Will know”, which in Hebrew means “Jewish citizen born in Israel”. However, he carries an important symbol of the tensions between the two countries, as he can remember the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982, two Palestinian districts in Beirut that were attacked by Christian and Israeli forces during the war in Lebanon.
As if that were not enough, Marvel made this announcement just a week before the 40th anniversary of this massacre, so other experts, such as Avner Avraham, an Israeli military officer and the creator of the cyberespionage and security company Spy Legends Agency, thought that the character “It will help new generations understand Mossad better.”
“It’s the TikTok way, the way cartoons have to speak to a new generation. They will learn the word Mossad and it can even help the Israeli service to recruit new sources in other countries.”
Does the MCU already have experience reinventing its characters?
The MCU already has a long list of “problematic” characters that it managed to revitalize without problem within its productions. There is the case of M’Baku (Winston Duke), a character who was known simply as “Man Ape” in the comics and that in the story he presents himself as a worthy leader capable of facing T’Challa.
Another example is certainly Wenwu in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the 10 Rings, who in the comics was known as the “Fu Manchu” character and was considered an extremely harmful racist stereotype. However, in the new version the character played by Tony Leung He turned out to be the real Mandarin and one of the biggest men in Marvel’s criminal underworld, revamping the character for a new generation.
But this promise to bring a new interpretation of Sabra’s character is also already causing controversy. the israeli cartoonist Ury Fink, who created the superhero Sabraman in 1978, told a local network that he was concerned about how Sabra might be reimagined given the “progressive times we’re living in.”
“Those who work at Marvel are all kinds of progressives. I have nothing against them, but it’s not going to be the most accurate representation of the Arab-Israeli conflict.”