Bella Hadid is an American model of Palestinian and Dutch descent. She is known for her beauty, her many magazine covers and her pro-Palestinian activism.
Hadid is, of course, entitled to hold and voice her own opinions. But she seems to have crossed a line in May of 2021, when she posted a video of herself on Instagram chanting, along with others, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.”
This is unambiguously a call for the destruction of Israel. Most Jews understand it as an endorsement of ethnic cleansing or worse.
As CAMERA has reported before, even under the most generous interpretation of the phrase, one that allows Jews to remain, a Palestinian state “from the river to the sea” would result in the loss of Jewish self-determination—a right that Arabs currently exercise in 21 countries and Muslims in 56 countries. It would also result in the loss of the only Jewish homeland and a refuge for persecuted Jews in the Diaspora. It would be the loss of the only place on Earth where Jews can go and find their holidays marked by school and government closures, their calendar in use and Hebrew spoken as the primary language of society.
Hadid is influential. Journalist Lahav Harkov has pointed out that Bella and her sister, model Gigi Hadid, have more social media followers than the entire population of Israel. So, when Bella Hadid calls for the destruction of Israel, people take note. That’s why the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs stepped in to respond to her at the time.
Of course, you wouldn’t know anything about this controversy from Glamour’s recent article about Hadid and her supposed troubles. According to Glamour, Hadid’s “outspoken advocacy for Palestine”—rather than her call for ethnic cleansing—has cost her jobs and friends. The magazine also covers up the model’s call for the destruction of the world’s only Jewish state, writing:
After attending a pro-Palestine march in New York City in 2021 and posting about the march on Instagram, Hadid was lambasted by the official Israel Twitter account, which called her an “advocate for throwing Jews into the sea.” She, along with sister Gigi Hadid and singer Dua Lipa, were also the targets of a full-page ad in The New York Times … that called their pro-Palestine advocacy akin to “anti-Semitism.”
Glamour does not appear to have challenged or investigated any of Hadid’s assertions. It even embedded an Instagram post in which Hadid repeats a quote she attributes to Israel’s first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Glamour could have learned in less than five minutes that even the ferociously anti-Israel website Electronic Intifada admits the quote is not accurate.
More to the point, Glamour does not seem to have taken the trouble to find out from any of the businesses or friends who dissociated themselves from Hadid what, specifically, they found so objectionable.
The fashion magazine that once gave an award to virulently anti-Israel activist Linda Sarsour not only failed to determine the particulars of Hadid’s advocacy but also seems to have failed to ask basic questions such as: What are the borders of this “Palestine” for which Hadid advocates? When was its sovereignty established? What is its history? And perhaps most importantly, what, specifically, would it mean to Hadid to “free” it “from the river to the sea”?
Of course, neither publication covered, for example, Regina Spektor’s recent comments about the double standard that is applied when the media covers Israel—in effect proving Spektor’s point. While the media is rife with such double standards, in the case of Condé Nast’s fashion publications, there is not even the pretense of even-handedness or any attempt at actual journalism.
Karen Bekker is the assistant director of the media response team at CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, a media-monitoring, research and membership organization devoted to promoting accurate and balanced coverage of Israel and the Middle East.