Online backlash as Marvel announces new Israeli superhero Sabratext_fields
Dubai: At the D23 Expo over the weekend, it was revealed that Israeli superhero Sabra, who will be portrayed by Israeli actress Shira Haas, will make her Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in the upcoming Marvel movie "Captain America: New World Order." This news sparked a barrage of criticism from online users.
Despite the fact that the term "Sabra" refers to a Jew born in Israel, several social media users criticised the news on Twitter and TikTok, claiming the character's name was offensive in light of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre.
On September 16, 1982, Israeli troops who had invaded Lebanon three months earlier watched as Lebanese Christian militiamen began a 36-hour massacre of Muslim men, women, and children that resulted in hundreds of deaths. The massacre took place in the Sabra neighbourhood of Beirut and the nearby Shatila refugee camp, Arab News reported.
Some social media users are questioning the superhero's name in light of the incident.
The origin of the Sabra name was discussed on Twitter by @yumna_patel writing, "apparently 'Sabra' is a term used to refer to Jews born in historic Palestine (correct me if I'm wrong). It is also the name of the neighbourhood in Beirut where Israeli forces oversaw the massacre of thousands of Palestinian refugees in the Sabra and Shatila Massacre in 1982."
"Can someone explain to me why they keep using the name, Sabra? The first thing pretty much every Palestinian remembers when we read or hear Sabra is the massacre of Sabra Shatilla, it feels deliberate," one Twitter user wrote.
Regardless of the character's identity, several critics questioned Marvel for including an Israeli superhero.
Matthew John wrote, "Israel's Marvel superhero Sabra has many powers, including demolishing Palestinian homes…"
There was some support for the announcement online, with one user writing: "Wow. Marvel actually got a Jewish actress to play a Jewish character. Gotta admit I didn't see Sabra coming. I'm excited and worried at the same time. Here's hoping they do it right (sic)."
Ruth Bat Seraph, also known as Sabra, was created by Bill Mantlo and Sal Buscema. She first briefly appeared in "Incredible Hulk #250" in 1980 before making her official debut in "Incredible Hulk #256" in 1981.
She is a mutant with superhuman strength, the capacity to give others her life force, proficiency in firearms and hand-to-hand combat, and the ability to fly thanks to her anti-gravity wristbands. She has engaged in combat against and alongside the Hulk and worked with the X-Men, and the Avengers.