Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Elizabeth Taylor's Films Were Banned in the Arab World

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor at the Wailing Wall in 1975

JTA reported this about Elizabeth Taylor today upon her death:

"Taylor converted to Judaism following the death of her third husband, Mike Todd, who was Jewish, in a plane crash and before marrying Jewish singer Eddie Fisher.
She denied that she had converted because of her Jewish husbands, saying that she had wanted to do it "for a long time." Her 1959 conversion at Temple Israel of Hollywood was well attended by the press.
Taylor made a point of traveling to Israel and fundraising for the Jewish state during the Arab boycott in the 1970s. Her films were banned in much of the Arab world. She was a supporter of the Kabbalah Center in Los Angeles.
She reportedly offered herself as a hostage for the more than 100 Air France hijack victims held by terrorists at Entebbe Airport in Uganda in July 1976. " 
From Time Magazine's 1959 article about the Arab boycott of Israel comes this:
"Last February, after Elizabeth Taylor bought $100,000 worth of Israeli bonds, the United Arab Republic banned any further showing of her films in Syria and Egypt. Presumably the boycott will apply even to her next movie announced last week: Cleopatra."


  1. So, Egypt boycotted Cleopatra. Interesting.


  2. Actually, once they saw that Cleopatra mentioned Egypt 122 they allowed it to be shown. Here's what happened: "Elizabeth Taylor’s pro-Israel activism led to the banning of her films in several Arab countries. After purchasing $100,000 in Israel Bonds in 1959, the United Arab Republic (now Egypt) banned all her movies. Gen. Essam Elmasri, head of the Cairo regional bureau of the Israel Boycott Office, said that Miss Taylor would not be allowed to come to Egypt because she has adopted the Jewish faith and “supports Israeli causes.” Her movie, Cleopatra, was not permitted to be filmed in Egypt, but in 1964, Egypt dropped her from its blacklist when it decided that Cleopatra, which mentions Egypt 122 times, would be provide good publicity for Egypt (Ami Eden, ‘In the JTA Archive: Liz Taylor says trade me for Entebbe hostages,’ Jewish Telegraphic Agency, March 23, 2011).


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