Over the past few months my friend Elizabeth Savetsky, the social media influencer, and I have worked to respond to the blood libels against the Jewish people promoted by Bella and Gigi Hadid to their combined 125 million Instagram followers. I’m grateful to Lizzy for carefully tracking their defamation.
Gigi and Bella Hadid are two of the great antisemitic hypocrites of our time. For years they have leveraged their massive Instagram followings to foment hatred of Israel and falsely accuse Israel of war crimes.
Of course, if they actually lived in Gaza their Instagram feeds would have, God forbid, had them imprisoned or even killed by Hamas long ago for their explicit nature. Hamas does not blush at pictures of Palestinian women in bikinis posted to Instagram. They take more devilish action. Luckily, Bella and Gigi are writing from Western countries that uphold Israel’s standards of human rights and women’s rights, which guarantees them all the protections that they would deny Palestinian women whom they purport to protect.
But March 6, 2022 was a new low for Gigi. She posted on Instagram, “I am pledging to donate my earnings … to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine.”
Here was the most violent invasion in Europe since the Second World War, where a totalitarian monster, Vladimir Putin, was destroying an entire country, and Gigi Hadid claimed “the same” was happening to the Palestinians. Here is a world famous celebrity who sees in the unspeakable suffering of Ukrainians nothing but an opportunity to attack the Jews.
Antisemites like the Hadid sisters traffic in putting us Jews on the defensive, and on this occasion, I regret I have to take the bait.
Antisemites like the Hadid sisters traffic in putting us Jews on the defensive, and on this occasion, I regret I have to take the bait. Sadly, so many people are so utterly ignorant of Israel’s defensive struggles that we need to articulate why the two situations are not comparable in any way.
Unlike Putin, who invades his neighbors out of a desire to recreate greater Russia and force Ukraine to bend its knee, Israel does not ever attack its neighbors except in an attempt to stop them from sending terrorists to murder their citizens or raining rockets on its cities. And unlike Putin, who terrorizes whole populations by reducing their cities to rubble, Israel risks the lives of its soldiers by undertaking only precise military surgical strikes to reduce civilian casualties as much as humanly possible, as they seek to neutralize genocidal maniacs like Hamas.
But none of these and so many other obvious differences stopped Vogue from sharing Gigi Hadid’s blood libel on their Instagram page to their 37.9 million followers.
At first, Vogue incurred significant pressure from Israel’s supporters who complained that Hadid’s post was disgusting. Vogue felt compelled to remove Gigi’s quote comparing Ukraine to Palestine from their Instagram caption. But less than a day later, under pressure from antisemitic bullies, Vogue restored the reference to Palestine in the caption.
Fast forward to March 15, and Bella Hadid now appears on the cover of Vogue Magazine wearing, wait for it, a Maison Margiela Artisanal dress designed by none other than John Galliano. Readers of this column may remember the infamous story of how on March 1, 2011 John Galliano was caught on video telling a woman sitting next to him at a bar in Paris, “I love Hitler. People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be f–king gassed.”
That September, Galliano was convicted in a French court for racist and antisemitic abuse.
None of this stopped Vogue Italia from issuing a disturbing defense of Galliano’s antisemitism on February 28, 2012. Then, on July 9, 2012, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour was caught on camera meeting with the disgraced designer. Why was she sitting with Galliano, someone who had proclaimed his unbridled love for Hitler?
Antisemitism, to coin a pun, is never in Vogue.
Except when it is.
The strange occurrences at Vogue continued on July 19, 2020 when Vogue Arabia replaced Israel with Palestine in an Instagram post that remains visible today. And then on May 23, 2021 Vogue cover model Paloma Elsesser called on her Instagram followers not to post about antisemitism because it “delegitimizes the Palestinian struggle.”
But strangest of all is Vogue’s continued desire to work with, and promote, Bella Hadid.
All these repellant events demand an explanation from Vogue, which Wintour herself ought to offer in order to set the record straight. Words matter. And incitement matters. But strangest of all is Vogue’s continued desire to work with, and promote, Bella Hadid. On May 16, 2021, Bella Hadid attended a pro-Palestinian protest in New York City and posted a picture on her Instagram account, surrounded by fellow protesters, with the caption: “The way my heart feels … To be around this many beautiful, smart, respectful, loving, kind and generous Palestinians all in one place… it feels whole! We are a rare breed!!”
What she did not reveal was that in the same photo was Waseem Awawdeh, 23, a man who was arrested just days later for allegedly beating the kippa-wearing Joey Borgen in Times Square, calling him a “filthy Jew.” At the beating, which took place just four days after Hadid posted the picture of her “respectful, loving” fellow protester, Awawdeh was arrested and charged with gang assault and assault as a hate crime. The shocking video of the assault showed Borgen, on the floor, utterly defenseless, being beaten to a pulp by a violent mob. He incurred numerous injuries and was hospitalized.
It’s nice to see with whom Bella Hadid is proud to keep company.
By now you can probably predict that Bella and Gigi Hadid are not ones to let up on their Jew-hatred. It seems to be an innate impulse.
So, on April 9, 2022, Gigi Hadid, perhaps under pressure from business partners or sponsors, suddenly condemned the murder of three Israelis in Tel Aviv by a Palestinian terrorist. She said that the “Free Palestine” movement was not about murdering Jews. Of course, the sheer and utter hypocrisy of constantly defaming Jews, engaging in blood libels against Israel and false accusations that Jews murder scores of innocent people, and then pretending that one’s words have no consequences, is staggering.
At least Mark Ruffalo, the Hollywood Israel hater, had the decency to apologize for his disgusting and notorious lies about Israel committing genocide and admit that his words were inciting antisemitism. On 24 May, 2022 he tweeted, “ I have reflected & wanted to apologize for posts during the recent Israel/Hamas fighting that suggested Israel is committing ‘genocide.’ It’s not accurate, it’s inflammatory, disrespectful & is being used to justify antisemitism here & abroad. Now is the time to avoid hyperbole.”
On this occasion we’ll have to forgive Ruffalo for referring to his blood libel against Jews as mere “hyperbole.” But lest one believe that Gigi is capable of similar reflection, within hours of her post condemning the murder of innocent Israelis, she posted a screenshot from the account @eye.on.Palestine of a Palestinian man who was “assaulted by settlers” and called for her followers to “check their bias.”
The @eye.on.Palestine account, a sewer of propaganda against Israel, is filled with celebratory comments in favor of the murder of Israelis. So much for Gigi’s conscience.
But whatever the biases of a supermodel who abuses her platform to foment antisemitism, that is no excuse for a mainstream and supposedly responsible publication like Vogue to publish her drivel and promote her lies.
Antisemitism should never be in Vogue.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, whom the Washington Post describes as “the most famous Rabbi in America,” served as Oprah Winfrey’s relationships expert on “Oprah and Friends” and is the international best-selling author of “Kosher Sex,” “Kosher Lust,” and “The Kosher Sutra.” Follow him on Instagram and Twitter @RabbiShmuley.