Fighting Gigi and Bella Hadid's antisemitic blood libels - opinion

Antisemitism, to coin a pun, is never in Vogue. Except when it is.

 ANNA WINTOUR poses on the carpet at the 2021 CFDA Awards in New York, in November. Antisemitism should never be in ‘Vogue.’ (photo credit: CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS)
ANNA WINTOUR poses on the carpet at the 2021 CFDA Awards in New York, in November. Antisemitism should never be in ‘Vogue.’
(photo credit: CAITLIN OCHS/REUTERS)

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 the feeds’ explicit nature. Hamas does not blush at pictures of Palestinian women in bikinis posted to Instagram. It takes more devilish action. Luckily, Bella and Gigi are writing from Western countries that uphold Israel’s standards of human rights and women’s rights, standards that guarantee 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 you had 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 said “the same” was happening to the Palestinians. Here you have a world-famous celebrity who sees in the unspeakable suffering of the Ukrainian nothing but an opportunity to attack the Jews.

 ‘TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE’: Supermodel Gigi Hadid’s post equating the Ukranians’ plight with that of the Palestinians.  (credit: INSTAGRAM) ‘TOTALLY IRRESPONSIBLE’: Supermodel Gigi Hadid’s post equating the Ukranians’ plight with that of the Palestinians. (credit: INSTAGRAM)

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 say why the two situations are not comparable in any way.

Unlike Putin, who invades his neighbors out of a desire to recreate Great Russia and have Ukraine bend its knee, Israel does not ever attack its neighbors except in an attempt to stop them from sending terrorists to murder its 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 its Instagram page to its 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 its 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, 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***ing 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. Or what happened on May 23, 2021, when Vogue cover model Paloma Elsesser called on her Instagram followers not to post about antisemitism, because it “delegitimizes the Palestinian struggle.”

All these repellent events demand an explanation from Vogue, which Wintour herself ought to offer and put right. 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, 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 kippah-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.

Nice to see whom Bella Hadid is proud to keep company with.

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 uncontrollable inner 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 arch Hollywood Israel hater, had the decency to apologize for his disgusting and notorious lies about Israel committing genocide and admitting that his words were inciting antisemitism. On May 25, 2021, 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 at all 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 supposedly responsible and mainstream publication like Vogue to publish her drivel and promote her lies.

Antisemitism should never be in Vogue.

The writer, 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.