It takes a special kind of conviction and bravery to stand up for what you believe in, despite the severe backlash. Supermodel Bella Hadid has learnt this the hard way as she continues to be a vocal advocate for Palestine.
Hadid, whose father is Palestinian, has used her platform as an influencer to spread awareness about the Israeli occupation of Palestine land and has suffered the consequences for the same.
In an interview with Rep podcast, Hadid admitted that her activism has cost her several lucrative commercial deals in the past. “I had so many companies that stopped working with me,” she said, “I have friends that completely dropped me.”
The model revealed that she still gets a feeling of “anxiety” as she goes about saying or doing the right thing, but also admits that her personal experience and knowledge lets her stand by her convictions. “I know my family enough, I know my own history enough. And that should be enough,” she said on the podcast.
In 2021, Hadid took part in a pro-Palestine march in New York City and posted about it on Instagram. Later in June, the supermodel spoke up after tensions between Israeli forces and Palestinians began heating up.
In an Instagram post, she wrote, “Everyday I wish I could go back in time, to when I was a child, so that I could start fighting for Palestine sooner. For my family, for my elders, our history and for the people of Palestine still living, now, through this treacherous, exhausting and painful occupation.”
Her continued support of Palestine has not only led to brands dropping her, but also backlash from the official Israel Twitter account, that labelled her as an “advocate for throwing Jews in the sea.” New York Times also featured a full page ad that condemned the supermodel and her sister Gigi Hadid, along with popstar Dua Lipa for their pro-Palestine stance, labelling them ‘anti-semitic’.
Hadid addressed it in the interview, saying, “When I speak about Palestine, I get labelled as something that I’m not. But I can speak about the same thing that’s happening there, happening somewhere else in the world, and that’s honourable. So, what’s the difference?”
Previously, Hadid has also called out Instagram for blocking the reach of her pro-Palestine posts, and sometimes even straight-up removing them after the social media platform deleted a post where she had shared a photo of her father’s passport with Palestine highlighted as the place of birth. She shared a screenshot of a message she had received from Instagram, stating that the post had violated community guidelines, including on harassment and bullying.
“What part of me being proud of my father’s birthplace of Palestine is ‘bullying, harassment, graphic, or sexual nudity’? Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram? This, to me, is bullying. You can’t erase history by silencing people. It doesn’t work like that,” she wrote.
In another instance, she took to the platform to express her anger during Israel’s offensive on Palestine, which claimed the lives of around 250 Palestinians in Gaza. She wrote, “You cannot allow yourself to be desensitized to watching human life being taken. You just can’t. Palestinian lives are the lives that will help change the world. And they are being taken from us by the second. #FreePalestine (sic).”
As she, and several other major celebrities like Emma Watson, Mark Ruffalo, and Susan Sarandon, continue to back up their beliefs despite facing real-life consequences for the same, Hadid’s words about fighting back against oppression in all forms stand out.
“One cannot advocate for racial equality, LGBT and women’s rights, condemn corrupt and abusive regimes and other injustices yet choose to ignore the Palestinian oppression.”
More power to you, Bella!