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Ignorant And Bigoted Anti-Zionist Fanatics Threw A Fit Over Jewish Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Playing Cleopatra

Ignorant And Bigoted Anti-Zionist Fanatics Threw A Fit Over Jewish Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Playing Cleopatra

The haters are simply incensed that Gadot – with her sweetly humble affect, loving family, and charitable endeavors – humanizes Israelis and Jews.

When Israeli Jewish starlet Gal Gadot announced that she’ll play Cleopatra in a new film, the “woke” internet knew it had found its new outrage crusade; incredibly, hundreds of angry keyboard warriors have condemned Gadot’s casting as the ancient Egyptian queen as example of  Hollywood “white-washing”.

Earlier this week, Gadot took to Twitter to celebrate her casting of Cleopatra in a biopic directed by Wonder Woman’s Patty Jenkins.

Though many reacted to Gadot’s announcement with excitement and support, “woke” Twitter was not pleased. At the crux of a sudden deluge of scornful tweets was outrage over Gadot’s status as an Israeli—and a “white” one, to boot.

Reactions ranged from foul-mouthed, ad hominem accusations of “genocidal” Zionism…

…to not-so-subtle references to well-worn anti-Semitic conspiracy theories claiming Ashkenazi Jews aren’t ‘real Jews’. One verified Twitter user (who calls herself a “geopol” and “Counter-Terror” “analyst”) pushing this trope went even further, asserting that Israeli Jews want to “replace” Arabs in the Middle East; the user even repeated a now infamous slogan popularized in Charlottesville, VA in 2017 by tiki-torch wielding neo-Nazis aiming to intimidate Jews—”You will not replace us.”

Several historically anti-Israel accounts capitalized on the Ashkenazi-Jews-are-White-Europeans narrative, with some suggesting that an Arab or Black African actress should be cast in the role in Gadot’s place.

Like the above Twitter users, several writers published articles taking it upon themselves to define (and thus dismiss) Gal Gadot’s Israeli Ashkenazi Jewish heritage as “white”. On October 14th, Hanna Flint wrote a piece for The Guardian arguing that casting “Gal Gadot as Cleopatra is a backwards step for Hollywood representation” and that it “misses chance to give north African actors a higher profile, prolonging the debate over Hollywood’s colonisation of ethnicity”. Flint opined,

The film industry has long had a frustrating habit of whitewashing history and movies about Cleopatra – thanks to white actors such as Elizabeth Taylor, Hildegard Neil, Claudette Colbert and Vivien Leigh – have cemented her western appearance on screen. Gadot in the role continues this trend, but it’s not as clear-cut as that.
The actor does tick the box for Middle Eastern and north African (MENA) representation, so she’s not as western a choice as either Angelina Jolie or Lady Gaga would have been – who had both previously been linked to the role. But it still perpetuates a white standard of foreignness.

And on October 16, Lisa Respers France wrote in CNN:

History has a way of repeating itself.

I’ve written about controversy surrounding White actors portraying characters of color — a practice that has existed throughout Hollywood’s history — multiple times.

But, as other Twitter users have pointed out, Cleopatra was neither Black African nor Arab; nor were the ancient Egyptians. Arabs did not arrive en masse in the Levant (known in Arabic as Shaam) until after the death of Islam’s founder, Muhammad, in the year 632 CE. Even Islamic sources describe the post-Muhammad Arab-Muslim invasion of vast swaths of land—stretching from what is now northern Libya and Egypt in the west to the westernmost edges of modern-day Afghanistan in the east—by the Rashidun caliphs between 632 and 661 CE. Ultimately, the subsequent centuries of Arab-Muslim conquest represent one of the most ambitious and longevous colonial projects in human history.

Accordingly, Arab-Muslim imperialism saw the subjugation (and frequent forced conversion to Islam) of each region’s residents. These included Zoroastrian Persians, North African Berbers, Egyptian Coptic Christians, and Levantine Jews. Indeed, modern Copts are not Arabs. Instead, they are likely descended from ancient Egyptians living before and during Cleopatra’s rule; the modern Coptic tongue comes from Late Egyptian—the same language whose hieroglyphic writing system is still recognizable today.

Yet, as Ohio State University scholar Duane W. Roller wrote in the Oxford University Press blog back in 2010 (!), the historically illiterate demand that Cleopatra be played only by a ‘Person of (more?) Color’ is not new:

Racial profiling and manipulation have been around for a very long time. It has become an issue in contemporary politics, and over 2500 years ago the Greek historian Herodotos wrote that ethnicity was regularly turned to political ends. Cleopatra VII, the last queen of Egypt and a woman of great ability, is often a victim of racial profiling, as today people can be more interested in her racial background than her many accomplishments. Such concerns have recently come to the forefront with the announcement that in at least one of the several Cleopatra movies currently planned, a white (instead of black) actress would play the role of the queen. It is hard to imagine that race would be more important than acting ability, but clearly others disagree.

It has been suggested – although generally not by credible scholarly sources – that Cleopatra was racially black African. [Samantha’s note: For example, see this 2009 BBC article describing an Austrian archaeologist’s claims that bones she found in 1985 (a) belong to Cleopatra’s sister Arsinoe and (b) demonstrate that the sisters had “an African mother”—a dubious claim, to say the least.] To be blunt, there is absolutely no evidence for this, yet it is one of those issues that seems to take on a life of its own despite all indication to the contrary. What follows lays out the evidence for Cleopatra’s racial ancestry, but one must not forget that this is of little importance in assessing the legacy of the queen in world history.

Let us consider exactly the evidence for Cleopatra’s racial background. It’s a little complicated, so do follow closely! She was born in early 69 BC as the descendant of a line of Egyptian kings in a dynasty that went back 250 years. Her ancestor Ptolemy I, a companion of Alexander the Great, founded the dynasty in the late fourth century BC. Ptolemy was Macedonian Greek in origin (he grew up at the royal court of Alexander’s father in Macedonia, the northern part of the Greek peninsula), and established himself as king of Egypt in the convulsive years after Alexander’s death. The descent passed through six successor Ptolemies until it reached Cleopatra’s father. So Cleopatra was no more than eight generations away from being pure Macedonian Greek.

Ultimately, though, much of the hubbub over Gal Gadot playing Cleopatra isn’t really due to well-intentioned outrage at the genuinely racist or white-washed portrayals Hollywood has produced (think Dumbo‘s crows, the “happy slaves” in Gone With the Wind, or Mickey Rooney’s “yellowface” in Breakfast at Tiffany’s). To be sure, there is nuanced and legitimate conversation to be had about the implications of ethnically diverse ‘representation’ (or the lack thereof) in pop culture. But the vitriol over Gadot’s most recent casting is not that.

Instead, the haters are simply incensed that Gadot—with her sweetly humble affect, loving family, and charitable endeavors—humanizes Israelis. Moreover, she has an extremely wide (and, with this latest high-profile casting, getting wider) audience for whom to do so. Despite her wealth, fame, and other-worldly loveliness, Gadot seems to be a down-to-earth person; she completed her mandatory military service like any other Israeli, she’s the grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, and she offers a nuanced picture of Jews and Israel.

Just as I wrote last year about Israeli LGBTQ activist Hen Mazzig, Gadot is exactly the kind of person that anti-Israel bigots—who portray Zionists and Israelis as uniquely, uniformly evil (and subsequently insist that Israel’s destruction is a moral imperative, rather than the genocidal ambition of anti-Semites)—would prefer the world never meet.

Too bad for them, then. All hail the Queen!


Samantha Mandeles is Senior Researcher and Outreach Director at the Legal Insurrection Foundation.


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The closest to the ancient Egyptians are indeed the Copts, and also Greeks, Cleopatra’s heritage. No doubt Alexandria still has many citizens of the ancient lineage. In appearance these people are near indistinguishable from modern Jews, who were basically indistinguishable from Egyptians. The countries bordered each other and intermarriage was common. The belief that Egyptians were once black is rather unusual. They were barely distinguishable from Greeks of the time. Ancient Egypt did extend for a time into modern day Sudan and there were indeed black pharaohs in the Sudan, as well as great works created the citizens there, but nothing like the lower Nile.

    Beat me to it. She was the final Ptolemaic pharoah and direct descendant of the first, Ptolemy, who took over as ruler of Egypt when Ptolemy oversaw the breakup of Alexander’s empire. Divided among the generals, he got Egypt. There has never been any doubt that Cleopatra was essentially Greek. The bloodline is a matter of contemporary written record.

      tom_swift in reply to Pasadena Phil. | October 19, 2020 at 12:38 am

      As a point of interest, Cleopatra was probably the penultimate Pharaoh. She died after the disastrous Battle of Actium in 31 BC, either by suicide (by asp bite, in the most popular account) or murder. Her son Caesarion, as Ptolemy XV, seems to have survived until 30 BC, when he was executed by Octavian. As a great-nephew and, later, the adopted son and heir of Julius, Octavian may have thought that too many Caesars would be dangerous in a period wracked by succession struggles and civil war.

Thought she would make a great Cleopatra

“… longevous…”

Thank you!

notamemberofanyorganizedpolicital | October 18, 2020 at 6:31 pm

That almost as good as when Arab countries stopped showing Maryln Monroe movies after she married Miller and converted to Judaism.

The only thing is Cleopatra was ugly. That Syrian Chick might actually be a better pick with the puffed up, surgically enhanced lips, but not by much.

Cleo had a large nose. Her “appeal” came from the power she had, not the pretty features of her face.

Cleopatra was not black. She was incestuous. Ugly. But power holds it’s own sway to those who lust for power.

    tom_swift in reply to oldgoat36. | October 18, 2020 at 7:16 pm

    Surviving sculptures do show a nose a bit on the larger side, though nothing freakish (not a Margaret Hamilton/Wicked Witch of the West impersonator), and by some odd chance it wasn’t broken off as so many surviving classical portraits are. What contemporary sculptures don’t show is her in bangs. People think Cleo had bangs because Liz Taylor had bangs, and Liz Taylor had bangs because Claudette Colbert had bangs, and Claudette Colbert had bangs because in 1934 everybody had bangs. Cleopatra was depicted in good old classical Greek curls.

So Cleopatra was no more than eight generations away from being pure Macedonian Greek.

A damn sight close than that. Alone among Alexander’s Diadochi, the descendants of Ptolemy adopted the Egyptian custom of dynastic inbreeding, anathema though it may have been to the other rulers of Alexander’s conquests. Ptolemy I maybe not, but it was customary from Ptolemy II onward, and there were a lot of Ptolemies—enough so that on rare occasions, more than one reigned at once. At any event, there wasn’t a lot of local admixture involved. Though as we all know Cleopatra VII didn’t strictly “keep it in the family”, as her son Ptolemy XV Caesarion was generally believed to be Julius Caesar’s. But everything points to Cleopatra being as damn close to Macedonian as it’s possible for an expat to be.

Ugly Jew-hatred is alive and well among contemporary Dhimmi-crats and the rest of their jihad-enabling/rationalizing, useful idiot allies on the Left.

I suspect Gal Gadot is as Woke as the rest of them on any other day. I’m not shedding any tears for her.

    Joelist in reply to nicklevi86. | October 18, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    You might be surprised. From what we know she is not woke. She has been flamed by the left before because she is Israeli and proud of it and also an observant Jew (she actually got flamed for teaching her children the Modeh Ani). She also served as a combat instructor in the IDF, and to all accounts is very likeable and easy to work with – kind of the anti-Brie Larson.

      carolmcl in reply to Joelist. | October 19, 2020 at 5:18 pm

      She’s woke. She participated in Hollywood’s cringy video where they sang the left’s favorite song, “Imagine.” And she was very off-key.

        guyjones in reply to carolmcl. | October 20, 2020 at 7:17 am

        Whether Gadot is “woke” or not is irrelevant, here — the Left’s Jew-hate must be opposed, in all its ugly manifestations. That’s my view. I don’t care what Gadot’s politics are. She is being targeted for being Israeli and for being Jewish, and, for being proud of both.

        I don’t reserve my opposition to Jew-hate based upon the politics of the victim.

Wait until these woke morons learn about Elizabeth Taylor. They’ll lose what’s left of their broken little minds.

“well-intentioned outrage at the genuinely racist or white-washed portrayals Hollywood has produced”

I’m gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Not one of these power-hungry twitter mobs (or their predecessors that came before social media) is well-intentioned. These are piles of ginned up outrage in a bizarre quest for fame and power at taking a big chunk out of a big empire like Hollywood. I have no love for Hollywood, but these detractors are just a bunch of shit-stirrers for their own selfish desires and whims.

I’m really gratified to see this article here as well as the generally informed and insightful comments. The vast majority of people would have no idea how ridiculous those twitter comments were or how uninformed (or hate filled) the posters were to make those comments.

It’s a credit to LI that the contributors here did know.

Don’t like the casting?!

Go make your own movie then with the actors you want!!

Anacleto Mitraglia | October 19, 2020 at 5:27 am

What’s Lupita got on her head? Is it what I think it is?

Barry Soetoro | October 19, 2020 at 6:41 am

When I first saw this story I discerned nothing anti-Hebraic about. It was obvious Black privilege insisting that a Black woman should play the part because many low IQ, deluded Sub-Saharans insist Cleopatra was Black. Now the anti-Semites are jumping on board.

Would the anti-Hebraic Arabs complain if a Mizrahi Jew played Cleopatra instead of an Ashkenazi Jew? Genetically, a Syrian Arab is quite similar to a Mizrahi:

BTW, Gal Gadot is pretty much every man’s dream woman, whether he is willing to admit it or not.