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Thursday, October 21, 2021

Calls to boycott Zara after designer’s anti-Palestine tirade


Another fashion brand has been condemned for its stance in ongoing human rights abuses committed against Palestinians.

Social media users are now calling for boycotting fast-fashion giant Zara after Vanessa Perilman, the head designer for the retailer’s women’s department, allegedly made racist comments earlier this week about Palestinians while justifying Israel’s actions.

Perilman made the comments in response to Palestinian model Qaher Harhash’s Instagram stories about the injustices his people suffer under the Israeli occupation.

“So your point is that you are trying to show the world that Israel is a horrible evil country that does terrible things to Palestinians? Omg I want to vomit. This is so unfair and such lies,” Perilman wrote, according to a screenshot shared by the Palestinian model.

“Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza,” she added.

Perilman went on to portray Palestinian parents and their children as the perpetrators of violence in the occupied land, saying that Israelis “do not teach their children to throw stones”.

Meanwhile, Israel killed over 60 children in its latest offensive in Gaza while continuing to randomly arrest minors.

Shortly after the message was shared, Perilman directly messaged the Palestinian model to say she was receiving “death threats” while continuing to defend her statements and saying that she is “not ignorant”.

The designer later deleted her Instagram account and other social media pages following the backlash, with many filing complaints to Zara for the statements made by Perilman.

Read also: Louis Vuitton faces backlash for ‘exploitative’ Palestinian Keffiyeh

While Zara has made no official statement regarding Perilman’s message, it responded to email complaints by saying that the brand launched an internal investigation into the incident.

“From what we know through our research, her immediate and spontaneous apology was accepted and so the misunderstanding was clarified and closed on Wednesday,” read an email response from Zara to Palestinian writer Nooran Hamdan.

“It was obvious she apologised because she felt threatened by people messaging her and calling out her ignorance,” Harhash wrote on Instagram on Sunday, confirming that Zara did not fire Perilman.

Instead, Harhash was reportedly asked by the high-end brand to share an apology written by Perilman, which he declined to do so.

“If Zara wants to make a statement with me, the statement needs to say that they stand with indigenous people and are against what is happening in Chinese concentration camps in Xinjiang. They also need to address… Islamophobia,” said Harhash.

“When certain fashion designers said anti-Semitic things, they were fired from their jobs,” he added.

Fashion industry stance

Earlier this month, high-end fashion brand Louis Vuitton’s [LV] was criticised by the public for its “exploitatve” $705 Keffiyeh.

LV’s “Monogram Keffieh stole” provided a “modern” twist to the traditional Palestinian Keffiyeh, imprinted with the brand’s logo in place of the original pattern.

The fashion statement was described as a complete erasure of the essence of the traditional, political icon which has shaped an identity for decades, while exploiting the latest global movement to fight for Palestinians’ rights.

Its choice of colours – like the Israeli flag, blue and white – generated many to question the intention behind it.

Similarly, Fendi released its own version for $890, which also received a wide public condemnation.

Read also: Qatar football clubs urged to boycott Puma over Israeli violations

In sports, pro-Palestine advocates in Qatar and beyond have been calling for the boycott of sportswear fashion brand Puma as it is the only international sponsor of the Israel Football Association [IFA].

Six of the IFA’s clubs are located in Israeli settlements in the West Bank, which enables their clubs to play their games on unlawfully seized lands from Palestinians, who are prohibited from entering  to participate in any sporting activity.

Locally, Qatar Youth Opposed to Normalisation [QAYON], an independent pro-Palestinian youth body, took action against the global sportswear manufacturer following the deadly Israeli aggression against Palestinians left over 250 dead.

The youth group said it sent a total of seven separate letters to each of the local Qatari teams, which don Puma kits, on May 20th, with only one responding—Qatar Sports Club.

“[Puma] is involved in supporting the crimes of the occupying Zionist entity. This is exemplified by its sponsorship of the Football Association, which represents the occupation, and of a number of Zionist entity’s clubs that practice their activities in the settlements built on the occupied Palestinian territories,” said QAYON in the latter.

“Puma is an example of a company operating in the interest of an occupying entity,” added the group’s statement.

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