Captain America: Brave New World Character Not Using Codename Due To Israel/Palestine Conflict?

By Zack Zagranis | Published

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McDonald’s recently started selling Captain America: Brave New World-themed Happy Meals, and people are a little confused about the names of the toys. Captain America and Red Hulk are self-explanatory, but then there’s a character called Ruth. Who the heck is Ruth? Believe it or not, Ruth is a 56-year-old Israeli Marvel character whose name was likely changed to avoid any connection to the current war in the Middle East.

Sabra Has Been Changed

Captain America‘s Ruth is actually Ruth Bat-Seraph, a character introduced in The Incredible Hulk #250 (1968) and better known to comic book fans as Sabra. In the comic book, Sabra is a member of Mossad (Israeli Secret Service) and a mutant. In the MCU, however, it’s expected that her backstory will most likely be altered, much like her name.

The Wrong Time To Bring Sabra To The MCU

Given the current situation involving Israel and Palestine, it’s not surprising that Marvel would want to tread carefully, especially when one of the stars of their next movie represents a country that many perceive to be on the wrong side of history. It only makes sense that Disney would want to try and avoid taking sides in the conflict, although some have already accused them of doing just that. In 2022, Yousef Munayyer, a Palestinian-American writer, suggested that Marvel bringing Sabra into the MCU would only help to reinforce anti-Arab sentiments.

The Name Could Be Offensive

According to Munayyer, the idea of painting an Israeli spy in a positive light “is insensitive and disgraceful.” Marvel defended their choice to include Sabra in the new Captain America by stating that the MCU contains characters who “are always freshly imagined for the screen and today’s audience.” In other words, Captain America’s version of Sabra, AKA Ruth, won’t be comic-accurate.

That explains why the character might look or act differently than her comic book counterpart, but why did her name need to be changed? Well, there’s a couple of reasons. For starters, Sabra is a Hebrew word that refers to Israeli-born Jews. The other more likely reason for the name change is that Sabra was also the name of a refugee camp where, in 1982, thousands of Palestinians and Lebanese were killed.

Was Always Going To Be A Tough Sell

With all of Sabra’s baggage, it’s a wonder that Marvel decided to include her in Captain America: Brave New World at all. It’s not like the only thing they had to change for Captain America was Ruth’s name. Her original comic book costume was blue and white like the Israeli flag and featured a giant Star of David on the front.

Even before the current conflict between Israel and Palestine, that might have been a hard sell.

The Troubled Captain America Production

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From the start, Captain America 4 has been plagued by political landmines. The film’s original title was Captain America: New World Order, a phrase often used by conspiracy theorists for the secret Jewish deep state that apparently rules the world. How that title got as far as early marketing materials before somebody brought this up to Marvel is mindboggling.

Fans Are Concerned Over The Quality Of The Movie Itself

Captain America 4

With all of the changes Captain America: Brave New World has had to make in order to avoid appearing political—Ruth included—one has to wonder if the film will address any real-world issues or try to make everything as non-offensive and vanilla as possible to avoid offending either side of the political divide.

Either way, we can’t see many kids dragging their parents to McDonald’s for Captain America Ruth toys anytime soon.

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