From Models to Magazines: How Anti-Semitism Is Spreading on the Fashion Scene

From Models to Magazines: How Anti-Semitism Is Spreading on the Fashion Scene

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How anti-Semitism is spreading across the fashion scene

Maria Antonia Gerstmeyer

Bella Hadid has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments in the past Bella Hadid has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments in the past

Bella Hadid has repeatedly made anti-Semitic comments in the past

Source: Getty Images/Chesnot

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Fans of model Bella Hadid, who has Palestinian roots on her father’s side, are spreading conspiracy theories and calling for a boycott of the Dior brand. And you also find resentment and hate in magazines and among influencers.

sSince the Hamas terror in Israel, things have been calm in the fashion world for a long time. Suspiciously calm for a bubble that has had the pleasure of making high-profile political statements for at least a few years, it has declared sustainability in the spirit of climate protection as its top priority and is busy decorating its accounts with black tiles (after the murder of George Floyd) or light blue and yellow garlands after the attack on Ukraine.

The situation only escalated after an incident involving model Bella Hadid, who attracted attention with frequent anti-Semitic slogans such as “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free.” But instead of criticizing the 27-year-old for this, the model receives support. Bella Hadid is followed by 61 million people on Instagram. She was one of the most sought-after models on international catwalks last year and, particularly with her cyborg facial features, helped shape the prevailing beauty ideal for an entire generation. In the past, many women asked their plastic surgeon to create Bella-style cheekbones or lips.

Hadid has repeatedly made anti-Israel comments in the past and has publicly accused Israel of oppressing Palestinians. In May 2021, she walked along a Palestinian demonstration in New York waving a Palestinian flag and shouting slogans and posted videos to her Instagram account. Now the model’s fans have spread word that a contract between her and Dior Beauty was canceled after the Hamas attack. In a wave of shit storms, a boycott of Dior was then called. Shortly afterwards, a simple internet search revealed that Hadid was no longer the face of the brand since 2022.

With this conspiracy theory, anti-Semitic propaganda has now reached the fashion world, uses clichés that are familiar from the dark decades of the last century and is directed against the industry’s biggest representative. Dior is the flagship of the LVMH group, whose boss Bernard Arnault was until recently the richest man in the world. Arnault himself does not come from a Jewish family, although this is often stated. But he built his empire with the support of the Jewish banker Antoine Bernheim, who was a kind of mentor to Arnault until his death.

A few weeks ago there was a blatant incident in the American “Harper’s Bazaar”. Editor-in-chief Samira Nasr criticized the Israeli reaction to the Hamas massacre with very harsh words. Publisher Hearst Magazines then sent an internal memo to employees making it clear that Nasr’s comments “do not represent Hearst’s values.” However, there was no external statement from the publisher regarding the incident and Nasr was also allowed to keep her job. A few days ago in this country, Deborah Middelhoff, Jewish editor-in-chief of three Saisonn Verlag lifestyle magazines, resigned from her position because she no longer felt safe in Germany. “Against the background of my belonging to the Jewish religious community and due to current developments in Germany, I decided to move the center of my life abroad,” she said, quoted in a press release from the publisher.

Slogans that mean the destruction of Israel

And the influencers’ silence is slowly being broken. However, this is often noticeable in pro-Palestinian statements. Mega-influencer Camille Charriere, for example, a Frenchwoman based in Great Britain who writes for the British “Elle”, is a confidant of popular designers such as Jacquemus and Nensi Dojanka and has 1.4 million followers on Instagram, recently filmed herself in a Palestinian demonstration in London and shared the video on his Instagram Stories. She did not mention Hamas terror in this context.

Anti-Semitism is also noticeable among other influencers, previously hidden in stories. Amid cream-colored interiors and oatmeal-beige color schemes, black, red and green Palestinian flags or “Free Palestine” slogans have flashed repeatedly, which in turn mean nothing more than the destruction of Israel. As a follower, all that remains is the horror that while one can agree that Tabi shoes may have been one of fashion’s ugliest inventions, there are obviously fundamentally different assumptions about the State of Israel’s right to exist.

The lack of accountability regarding the platform itself is now becoming a breeding ground for widespread anti-Semitism. Palestinian flags and slogans pile up in the comments and are barely removed or not removed at all. Hate can now spread uncontrollably, casting its shadow over beauty, elegance and style. And even so, the supermodels’ faces eventually turn into grimaces.

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