Egypt actors’ union investigating movie star for — gasp — working with an Israeli

posted at 3:38 pm on August 30, 2007 by Bryan

Actors, like artistic types in general, tend to be among the liberals of whatever culture they’re in. Our entire Middle East project is predicated on the notion that if given democratic freedoms or at least shown that it’s possible for them to have such freedoms, the liberals of Islamic states will eventually rise up, throw off the yoke of sharia-based tyranny, and join the community of nations in hand-holding and song.

That may not work out.

The chairman of Egypt’s Actors’ Union said Thursday that the group planned to investigate one of the country’s brightest young movie stars for appearing in an upcoming miniseries with an Israeli actor.

The controversy began when the group discovered that Amr Waked, who starred in the Hollywood film Syriana, was in Tunisia filming a four part series on Saddam Hussein’s life opposite Yigal Naor, an Israeli of Iraqi descent.

“We found out Amr Waked was participating in a movie with an Israeli artist and so when he returns from abroad he will be investigated,” union chairman Ashraf Zaki said. “The Actors’ Union here is against normalization with Israel.”

Nearly a dozen articles have appeared over the past week condemning Waked for participating in the series, titled Between Two Rivers and backed by the British Broadcasting Corporation and Home Box Office.

“Who will hold Amr Waked accountable?” read a headline Monday in Egypt’s opposition daily el-Wafd.

A better question would be “Why should anyone hold him accountable, and for what?” But they’re not asking that question.

Waked declined to comment on the upcoming investigation, but in earlier interviews with Egyptian media, the actor said he did not know the nationalities of every person involved in the project.

Well how could he? The actors union is channeling Geraldo’s deepest fears. Go about three minutes into the clip to figure out what I’m talking about.

This whole story is illuminating. The actors’ union claims that it’s its leftwing politics that are driving this idiotic investigation.

Anti-Israeli sentiment flared in the country during the outbreak of the second Intifada in 2000, much of it led by left wing academics and artists who have long been Israel’s fiercest critics in Egypt.

“The [film] industry is in general very left wing and stays away from normalization as a whole,” said Richard Woffenden, the former cultural editor of the local Cairo Times weekly.

But how are they, fundamentally, liberals in the sense of believing in basic human freedom if they’re going to investigate an actor on something like this? They’re not. They’re agitated by some of the same issues that animate the jihadists, and they’re acting like them too. And the Egyptian press, presumably also run by either liberals or working wards of the state, is right there with them.


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Damn Jooooos, its their fault in everything

Defector01 on August 30, 2007 at 3:43 PM

This is so bad it could be mistaken for an article in The Onion.

Bigfoot on August 30, 2007 at 3:46 PM

Does this mean that the filming of Saving Private Mahmoud has been delayed?

OhEssYouCowboys on August 30, 2007 at 3:49 PM

I assume then the Egyptian’s actors Union will not be producing an Anwar Al Sadat hagiography.

Spirit of 1776 on August 30, 2007 at 3:49 PM

who starred in the Hollywood film Syriana

I blame that damn George Clooney!

KelliD on August 30, 2007 at 3:51 PM

I think they are acting exactly like liberals. They have plenty of tolerance for those that support their own views.

“The [film] industry is in general very left wing and stays away from normalization as a whole,” said Richard Woffenden, the former cultural editor of the local Cairo Times weekly.

Sounds like any other liberal I know.

Guardian on August 30, 2007 at 3:55 PM

They sound just like Western leftists. Despite using the term “liberal” to describe the Left, they are not liberals in the classical sense at all.

But we all knew that already.

Nosferightu on August 30, 2007 at 3:59 PM

Dammit! Spirit and Nosfer took BOTH of my comments! Damn you! Damn you BOTH! :-)

Oh well, I guess the Egyptian Film Actor’s Guild is just like ours.

Tony737 on August 30, 2007 at 4:08 PM

actually they act just like hollyweird liberals

Defector01 on August 30, 2007 at 4:09 PM

This is outrageous! They should burn him at the steak. Jews and Muslims working together! What’s next? cats and dogs playing together. I’m calling for riots all over islam. All good mudslimes should take to the streets, burn down business’s, burn cars, and randomly kill each other. This can’t be tolerated.

Masscon on August 30, 2007 at 4:14 PM

actually they act just like hollyweird liberals

Defector01 on August 30, 2007 at 4:09 PM

Because we all know how much Hollywood hates Jews. Oh wait.

Nonfactor on August 30, 2007 at 4:15 PM

Ha ha ha ha ha somebody is surprised that Arabs hate Jews……..

doriangrey on August 30, 2007 at 4:23 PM

Any organization that requires a boycott against Israeli citizens should be boycotted.

Fight fire with fire.

aunursa on August 30, 2007 at 4:32 PM

Perhaps this chap should come over to Hollywood, there he would find a whole lot better group of peop…..Never mind.

conservnut on August 30, 2007 at 4:55 PM

Because we all know how much Hollywood hates Jews. Oh wait.

Nonfactor on August 30, 2007 at 4:15 PM

Perhaps this should be amended to “we all know how much Hollywood hates Israel.” Of course I could be feeling residual annoyance with the crapfest that was Munich.

mjk on August 30, 2007 at 5:51 PM

Well… left-wing in the Arab world (Egypt, Jordan, Syria, pre-1991 Baathist Iraq etc) means Arab nationalist. The ideological lineage is from international Marxism through post-WWII European radicals to Nasser, Assad, Arafat, etc. They reject Israel in the same way that Islamists do – and have been not one iota less committed to “washing the streets of Tel Aviv with Jewish blood” (Nasser’s old line) – but for different reasons. And unfortunately, they’re kind of right – they are the most significant, identifiable “left wing” part of the Arab world.

omriceren on August 30, 2007 at 9:02 PM

I’m calling for riots all over islam. All good mudslimes should take to the streets, burn down business’s, burn cars, and randomly kill each other. This can’t be tolerated.

Masscon on August 30, 2007 at 4:14 PM

How would we know what they’re doing all of that for?

The Monster on August 30, 2007 at 11:20 PM

Any organization that requires a boycott against Israeli citizens should be boycotted.

Fight fire with fire.

aunursa on August 30, 2007 at 4:32 PM

that means we should boycott the British teachers unions for doing the exact same stupid thing

clghitis on August 31, 2007 at 1:14 PM

British Academia are not debating whether or not to allow screenings of Syriana on school grounds. On th eone hand, it is anti-US and stars George Clooney, but they are worried about this actor willing to work with an Israeli, a blatant boycott violation.

Currently, those who argue Syriana was filmed before the violation exonerates the film have a slim majority and as of now the film will continue its run, but vocal absolutists are growing in their influence of a zero tolerance policy.

A third group, though small in number, are offering a compromise where the film won’t be shown in major screenings but can still be apart of dvd rentals in campus stores.

The BBC will have a special half-hour show about this discussion tonight.

hadsil on August 31, 2007 at 5:40 PM