Photo-Illustration: Vulture; Photos by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage and Marvel
Unorthodox Star Shira Haas is the latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Emmy-nominated Israeli actress to play comic book character Sabra in upcoming Captain America: New World Order, as part of the studio’s phase five. Marvel broke the news during a panel at Disney’s D23 Expo, where it also revealed that Tim Blake Nelson would be reprising his role as The Incredible Hulk bad boss. The super-powered mutant Sabra was first introduced in the The Incredible Hulk comics in 1980, and his inclusion in an MCU film caused controversy, as the character is a Mossad Agent engaged in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict who, in his first major comic book appearance, does not see it as a “arabian boy dead as humanuntil hearing an impassioned speech from the Hulk. Critics on Twitter noted that the name “Sabra” is particularly insensitive for this character because it recalls the Sabra and Shatila massacre of 1982, in which between 460 and 3,500 Lebanese Palestinians and Shia in refugee camps were massacred by the Lebanese Forces right-wing Christians, a massacre in which the IDF was complicit (the character was named after an unrelated Israeli slang term and featured in comics before the massacre). This week is the 40th anniversary of the massacre.
Some online reviews also call the film’s subtitles offensive, in light of the film’s villain played by Jewish actor Nelson and the introduction of the MCU’s first Israeli superhero. They point out that New world order evokes the language of anti-Semitic conspiracy theories. The film will star Anthony Mackie as the titular Captain America, Sam Wilson, and is slated for release in 2024.