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Model fired from L’Oreal campaign due to 3-years old `anti-Israel tweets`
Amena Khan, a model who has worked for L’Oreal since 2016, was fired Monday
from an ad campaign after images of her wearing a hijab took off on social
media. After the campaign went viral, the right-wing U.S. blog site
‘Breitbart’ claimed to have uncovered tweets that Khan had made in 2014 that
they considered ‘anti-Israel’.
Even after she publicly apologized for the old tweets, she was still fired
from the campaign. She said in her apology that “championing diversity is
one of [her] passions” and that her past tweets “do not represent the
message of harmony that[she] stands for”.
Critics of the firing of Amena Khan point out that she appears to be the
latest target of a smear campaign that labels criticism of Israeli policies
as ‘anti-Semitic’. Other targets have included academic Steven Salaita,
Australian professor Jake Lynch of Sydney University, Pink Floyd musician
Roger Waters, Paul Hadweh of UC Berkeley and many others.
The tweets in question were sent in July of 2014, at the height of Israel’s
bombing and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip that resulted in the deaths of
more than 1400 Palestinians, many of whom were children.
At that time in 2014, every day more pictures appeared on the news, and on
social media, of the mutilated bodies of children who had been bombed and
shelled by Israeli weaponry. But even in the midst of the violence of the
Israeli invasion of Gaza, Khan’s tweets focused on the Israeli attacks, and
did not generalize about Jewish people or make false accusations.
Instead, the ‘controversial tweets’ were ones in which Khan tweeted things
like a response to British journalist Jon Snow of Channel 4 News in England,
saying that his piece of the ‘Children of Gaza’ was “very moving” and
criticized Israel for killing innocent children.
In that news report, prepared upon Snow’s return from the Gaza Strip, “The
average age is 17 – about a quarter of a million people in Gaza are under
10. And if you know any 10 year olds, 7 year olds, 5 year olds, that the
idea that you can control your children in a war zone to keep them from harm
– is impossible. So that in a very densely-packed urban area, if you decide
to shell it, you will kill children.” Here is a link to the full report by
Jon Snow in 2014.
Khan herself has in the past been criticized for working with L’Oreal, a
company that has been targeted by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions
movement for its factory in the illegal Israeli settlement colony of Migdal
Ha’emek, a colony which discriminates against Palestinian citizens of
Israel, denying them the right to buy, rent or live on any part of the town,
simply because they are “non Jews.”
Now, many of her fans are challenging L’Oreal on their decision to force the
model to step down. Her Instagram and Twitter accounts are full of comments
demanding her return to the campaign, and challenging the ‘censorship of
political views’ being practiced by the company.
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