A new Hollywood film is drawing fire from American Muslims and movie critics for glorifying Israel while ridiculing the Middle East conflict and demonizing Palestinians and Arabs.
"MuslimBridges is disappointed by Adam Sandler’s attempt to glorify the image of the ‘Israeli soldier,’" the California-based faith group said in a press release mailed to IslamOnline.net.
The group dismissed the "You don’t Mess with the Zohan" movie, which was released last week, as a "propaganda plot."
The movie portrays the titular Zohan as a fabled Israeli Mossad operative who is tired of cutting the throats of "terrorists" and wants to be a hair stylist.
To achieve his goal, the ultra-lethal super-commando fakes his own death and moves to New York City, where he sets up a shop in an immigrant neighborhood populated by Israelis and Palestinians.
Sandler, a Jew, has said the movie inspiration dates back to his childhood when he heard stories about the "tough" Israeli army.
MuslimBridges said the actor had two objectives in mind.
"To counter the large number of Israeli soldiers defecting the military, refusing to take part in oppressing the Palestinians, and to improve the tarnished image after the miserable performance by the ‘mighty’ Israeli army against Hizbullah – the small militia resistance during the 2006 Israel war on Lebanon."
The group has produced a video, featuring a female Palestinian resistance fighter to counter Sandler’s film.
The film has been hammered by several critics for messing with reality and demonizing Palestinians and Arabs as blood-thirsty terrorists.
"In ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan,’ he [Sandler] manages to stereotype pretty much everyone between the Middle East and Midwest," said the Washington Post movie review.
"In the world according to Adam, Arabs are childish, violent, stupid; Israelis are aggressive, mendacious, oversexed.
"It’s more like he hasn’t heard of political correctness and is unfamiliar with the concept of stereotypes in the first place."
The Los Angeles Times described the movie as a "frustratingly uneven" satire on Arab-Israeli conflict.
"Sandler is an unlikely candidate to broker world peace, yet that is exactly the undercurrent of his latest film.
"As a cutting comedic satire about the Arab-Israeli conflict and stereotypes, it misses more than it hits."
"’Mess’ is the operative word in ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan,’ Adam Sandler’s new (and lousy) movie," agreed the Seattle Times movie critic.
"Essentially, ‘You Don’t Mess With the Zohan’ is about 100 minutes of ethnic stereotypes."
(Originally published in IslamOnline.net)