‘It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!’ says Hadid, joining protesters to show support amid escalating violence
Bella Hadid has joined pro-Palestine protesters at a demonstration in New York City, calling for the State of Israel to cease its violent occupation of the region. Joining the crowd as it marched through Bay Ridge, Brooklyn, the model — whose father is Palestinian American — can be seen wearing traditional dress and waving a Palestinian flag in images posted to social media.
“To be around this many beautiful, smart, respectful, loving, kind, and generous Palestinians all in one place... it feels whole!” she writes, documenting the Saturday march on Instagram. “We are a rare breed!! It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free!!!”
Earlier today, the UN secretary general warned that Israel and Palestine are heading for an “uncontainable security and humanitarian crisis”, following a day of escalated violence that has seen a reported 42 Palestinians killed by airstrikes in Gaza. 50 Palestinians were also injured, the Guardian reports, in the deadliest single attack since fighting broke out between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas a week ago.
Bella Hadid also made calls to “Free Palestine” in a separate Instagram post on May 15, urging followers to educate themselves. “This is not about religion,” she writes. “This is not about spewing hate on one or the other. This is about Israeli colonization, ethnic cleansing, military occupation and apartheid over the Palestinian people that has been going on for YEARS!”
“I stand with my Palestinian brothers and sisters, I will protect and support you as best as I can.”
“I have been told my entire life that who I am: a Palestinian woman — is not real,” she adds. “I’ve been told my father does not have a birth place if he is from Palestine. And I am here to say, Palestine is very much real and the Palestinian people are here to stay and coexist. As they always have.”
In 2017, she similarly spoke out in support of Palestine, during unrest stemming from Donald Trump’s announcement that he would be moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. “Watching the news and seeing the pain of the Palestinian people makes me cry for the many many generations of Palestine,” she wrote at the time. “The TREATMENT of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated. I stand with Palestine.”
Unsurprisingly, Hadid’s statements have frequently polarised followers, but her most recent show of solidarity has also drawn the attention from the State of Israel’s official Twitter account.
“When celebrities like Bella Hadid advocate for throwing Jews into the sea, they are advocating for the elimination of the Jewish State,” reads a May 16 post from the account, with a screenshot from Hadid’s Instagram Live. “Shame on you.”
Challenged to explain where in the video Hadid advocates “throwing Jews into the sea”, the State of Israel account points to a portion of the video in which the crowd chants: “Palestine will be free. From the river to the sea”, a popular political slogan that has been used to reject occupation of Palestinian territories by Israel.
Read more on the escalating violence and ongoing occupation — including why the language you use is important, and how to show solidarity — here.