Posters advertising the opening of the new Hunger Games film starring Jennifer Lawrence are posted throughout Israel, and the posters all feature Lawrence’s photo – except for for the ones posted in Jerusalem and in the haredi city of Bnei Brak. In those cities, Lawrence has been photshopped out.
News Analysis: Jennifer Lawrence Hunger Games Movie Posters Censored Over Fears Of Haredi Vandalism, Violence
Shmarya Rosenberg • FailedMessiah.com
Posters advertising the opening of the new Hunger Games film starring Jennifer Lawrence are posted throughout Israel, and the posters all feature Lawrence’s photo – except for for the ones posted in Jerusalem and in the haredi city of Bnei Brak.
In those two cities, Lawrence has been photoshopped out of the poster, Ha’aretz reported based on a report in Ynet.
"We discovered that public posters with the image of a female are often torn down [by haredim] in Jerusalem, while Bnei Brak does not allow posters with female images," the film’s Israeli PR company’s representative reportedly told Ynet.
This problem could be handled by police doing their jobs and making arrests of the haredim who commit this vandalism, but that’s asking far too much for Israel’s police who, even in times of peace, are arguably the most ineffective police force in the first world.
Bnei Brak city officials said in a statement that a city regulation prevents the hanging of posters that contain images of women because that might anger city residents.
In Israel, companies and individuals do not have what we in the west understand as free speech or the right of free association, even though Israel’s Basic Law, its faux constitution, appears to guarantee both. And that means religious coercion is supported by the state’s law enforcement apparatus and sometimes by the courts.
"It is difficult to estimate the damage that capitulation to extremism does to the Jewish faith. We need to make clear that there is absolutely no connection between Judaism and censorship of the image of Katniss Everdeen [Lawrence’s character in the film],” Reform Rabbi Uri Regev, head of the religious freedom nonprofit Hiddush, said.
Nur Star Media, the company behind the posters, said that it was not the first time it had decided not to post posters featuring women in Jerusalem and Bnei Brak.
"Unfortunately we are subject to unofficial coercion that forces us to be more careful. We have had endless vandalization, and clients prefer not to take the chance. We allow everything, but we recommend hanging another visual when necessary. The decision is the client’s,” Liron Suissa, Nur Star Media’s VP of Marketing, said, pointing back, if unintentionally, to the root of the problem – the failure of police to do their jobs. Because of that failure, Israeli companies from El Al to the Egged Bus Company to a large array of supermarkets and clothing retailers regularly capitulate to the demands of the most extreme haredim