Over the past few months, rising tensions between Israel and Palestine have captured global attention and sparked outcry on social media. This wave of coverage has forced some celebrities to chime in on the matter. However, not all of these celebrities and media organizations are well-informed, and many have been accused of spreading misinformation, sparking subsequent anti-Semitic sentiment.
One celebrity has attracted significant criticism for spreading misleading information about the ongoing conflict is American model, Bella Hadid, whose father is Palestinian. During the 11-day conflict, Hadid shared numerous misleading Instagram posts with her 43 million followers, criticizing Israel’s role in the conflict. For example, the model shared a photograph of the 1939 Palestinian soccer team to recognize the successes of the Palestinian community. But, as London-based photographer Blake Ezra noted, the pre-Palestinian state soccer team was composed entirely of Jewish athletes, reflecting Hadid’s lack of understanding of the region’s history. Some critics have also noted that Hadid’s misleading narrative could reinforce Palestinian oppression, as celebrities often fail to condemn Hamas. The Palestinian militant group leading Gaza is well-known for fostering violence and unrest. Hamas has been designated as a terrorist organization by both the United States and the European Union.
Other celebrities, including The Weeknd, Roger Walters, Zayn Malik, Mark Ruffalo, and Dua Lipa, have been accused of spreading misleading information about the conflict. In May, the New York Times published a full-page ad run by Rabbi Shmuley Boteach of the World Values Network, which accused Bella Hadid, her sister Gigi Hadid, and singer Dua Lipa of spreading misinformation about the tense situation. Simultaneously, non-profit entertainment industry organization, Creative Community For Peace, released a statement that called on entertainers and executives to help combat misinformation and biased coverage of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Over 130 entertainment industry leaders signed the statement, including Gene Simmons, Michael Bublé, and Meghan McCain.
As anti-Israel coverage of the conflict expanded, so has anti-Semitic sentiment around the world. However, given the rampant spread of misinformation about the situation, there has been little coverage of anti-Semitic events. In the United States, numerous recent attacks have occurred, including in cities such as Los Angeles and New York. In London, police arrested four individuals for shouting abusive slurs and threats while driving through Jewish areas of the city.
The ongoing tensions between Israel and Palestine are rooted in decades of complex history and violence. While individuals around the world must remain informed and engaged with global events, celebrities must use their platforms responsibly and ensure that they are spreading accurate and unbiased information.