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Arabic subtitles for ‘Oppenheimer’ film omit references to Jews

Universal Pictures defended the translation of “stranger.”

Promo for the film “Oppenheimer.” Source: YouTube.
Promo for the film “Oppenheimer.” Source: YouTube.

The three-hour film “Oppenheimer,” which dramatizes the life of Jewish physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father of the atomic bomb,” has already earned more than $650 million worldwide. Depending on where one sees the film, it might be judenrein.

Arabic subtitles translate the word “Jew” as “stranger,” The National reported last week.

“Translated by a Lebanon-based company, the subtitles in the version released in the region omit mentions of Jews, using the term ‘ghurabaa’ instead, which is Arabic for ‘strangers’ or ‘foreigners,’” the Abu Dhabi-based daily reported. “In other instances, the word is avoided altogether. The commonly used word for ‘Jews’ in Arabic is ‘Yehudi.’”

A Universal Pictures representative told The National that it followed guidelines of Middle East censor boards. “There are topics we usually don’t tackle, and that is one of them. We cannot use the word ‘Jew,’ the direct translation in Arabic, otherwise it may be edited, or they ask us to remove it,” the representative said.

“In order to avoid that, so people can enjoy the movie without having so many cuts, we would just change the translation a little bit,” the spokesperson added.

“Jew” appears many times in the Koran.

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