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Why Casting Gal Gadot’s as Cleopatra Is Another Example of Hollywood’s Whitewashing

Why Casting Gal Gadot’s as Cleopatra Is Another Example of Hollywood’s Whitewashing

Gal Gadot, a former Israeli soldier who supports the state of Israel and Zionism, will be portraying Cleopatra, the Egyptian queen, in her new movie.


There are many things that are wrong with this. Let’s start with Cleopatra’s heritage. Cleopatra was born in Egypt with her family origins in Macedonia, Greece. She ruled Egypt from 51 BC to 30 BC, and she was the last ruler of the Ptolemaic Kingdom of Egypt. Cleopatra was known for her strength and diplomacy, as she influenced Roman politics, and had strong relationships with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Considering these facts, casting an Egyptian actress to play Cleopatra would be the most realistic, and best representation of the Egyptian culture, but they instead decided to cast an Israeli actor. Arabs have been long known for not recognizing Israel as a country, but rather recognizing it as Palestinian land that was stolen from its people.

Choosing Gal Gadot instead of an Egyptian, Greek, or Middle Eastern actress was a discriminatory action. Israeli forces are stealing Palestinian lands already, and by Gadot playing Cleopatra, they are also stealing our history, heritage, and representation in movies.

In 2014, Gadot posted a picture with her and her daughter covering their eyes with Shabbat candles lit next to them and captioned it: “I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens. Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom! #weareright #freegazafromhamas #stopterror #coexistance #loveidf”

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Gadot is openly a Zionist Israeli who served in the Israeli army. She should not be playing an Egyptian queen that was known for her strength like Cleopatra. It’s bad enough that Cleopatra has been misrepresented many times over the years and was played by several white actresses.

For years, Hollywood movies have misrepresented Arabs and Middle Eastern countries, whether by featuring Arabs as terrorists, picturing them as barbaric and uncivilized, or showing the country in a poor and desperate state. They often even use a yellow filter on the scenes that are supposed to be shot in a Middle Eastern country to emphasize the pollution and desert.


Choosing Gal Gadot instead of an Egyptian, Greek, or Middle Eastern actress was a discriminatory action. Israeli forces are stealing Palestinian lands already, and by Gadot playing Cleopatra, they are also stealing our history, heritage, and representation in movies.

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