A new Netflix series titled ‘The Spy’ has sparked outrage on social media as it portrays the life of Israeli spy Eli Cohen, played by controversial actor Sacha Baron Cohen.
Produced by ‘Homeland’’s Gideon Raff, the six-episode thriller debuted on September 6. It is inspired by the real life of Eli Cohen, an Israeli spy who worked under Mossad in the 1960s and posed as Kamel Amin Thaabet to gather intelligence on Syria.
Twitter users have blasted Netflix for the series, co-produced by French premium channel Canal+, and questioned why the platform has carried several Israel-centric projects over the years, such as the Netflix originals ‘Fauda’ (2016) and ‘The Angel’ (2018).
“The Spy is pure Israeli propaganda. They even showed on screen ‘Jerusalem, Israel’ ... Cant believe @netflix is allowing such apartheid propaganda on its platform,” one user wrote.
“For those of you who are watching “#TheSpy” On Netflix. The story of the Israeli spy Eli Cohen. The [expletive] is caught and hanged at the end. Is this a spoiler? well, I didn’t watch it. I know this from actual history. Now go watch something else than propaganda. You are welcome,” wrote Lebanon-born political activist Dyab Abou Jahjah.
Actor Khalid Al Farraj, who also referenced Raff’s ‘Red Sea Diving Resort’, wrote that Israel was using Netflix as “a drama platform through which they propose their heroism, history and imaginary intelligence, while we watch.”
Another Twitter user posted a link to the trailer and wrote: “Netflix produces so many pro-Israel Mossad spy thrillers that it can be treated as a Zionist propaganda media company?”
“Those who don’t know Israel and watch ‘The Spy’ about Israeli spy Eli Cohen will cry from how Netflix portrays the human side of his personality and how his last moments were difficult for his family … and shows Syria as the monster of the sixties,” said one user, singing off their tweet with a series of expletives.
Last year, ‘The Angel’ – which told the story of Egyptian spy Ashraf Marwan, nicknamed ‘The Angel’ by Mossad — also drew backlash and accusations of propaganda from the Arab world.
‘The Spy’ has meanwhile been met with critical acclaim in the West, holding an 82 per cent ‘fresh’ rating on review-aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes, and Baron Cohen has been praised for a rare dramatic performance. The English-Jewish actor is best known for his satirical roles such as Borat, Bruno and Ali G.