In the past few years, Bella Hadid has become increasingly vocal about her support for Palestine, the country where her father, Mohamed Hadid, was born. Her advocacy has gotten her a full-page attack ad in the New York Times and a direct tweet from the official country of Israel Twitter account, both of which she touched on in a new interview about her advocacy.
“I have this overwhelming anxiety of not saying the right thing and not being what everybody needs me to be at all times,” Hadid said at the top of her new interview with Noor Tagouri’s the Rep podcast. “But I’ve also realized that I have done my education enough, I know my family enough, I know my own history enough. And that should be enough.” The supermodel has long been an advocate for Palestine. In a June Instagram post, she reaffirmed her commitment to fight for Palestine, writing, “I will never allow anyone to forget about our beautiful Palestine, or our beautiful people.”
Hadid’s activism has ramped up in the past two years. On Instagram, she’s shared a letter against apartheid, as well as photos and videos of alleged unprovoked violence between the Israel Defense Forces and Palestinians. In March, she and her sister, Gigi Hadid, announced that they would be donating their Fashion Week earnings to organizations providing aid in Ukraine and Palestine.
Her activism has not come without cost. “I had so many companies that stopped working with me,” the supermodel told Rep. “I have friends that completely dropped me.” In May of 2021, she was accused of being an “advocate for throwing Jews into the sea” by the official Israel Twitter account after attending a pro-Palestinian march following an air strike in Gaza. At the time, Hadid called out “Israeli colonization” and “military occupation and apartheid” on Instagram — though she also made clear that this was “not about religion” or “spewing hate on one or the other” — writing, “I stand with my Palestinian brothers and sisters.” Shortly thereafter, Hadid, her sister, and Dua Lipa (who was dating their brother, Anwar Hadid, at the time) were targeted by a full-page ad in the New York Times accusing them of “antisemitism.” Speaking with Rep, Hadid called the ad “disappointing,” adding that the paper “sold their soul.” Reflecting on the vitriol that came her way, the model noted, “When I speak about Palestine, I get labeled as something that I’m not. But I can speak about the same thing that’s happening there, happening somewhere else in the world, and that’s honorable. So, what’s the difference?”
Hadid noted in the interview that she realized at a young age that people wouldn’t necessarily embrace her identity as a proud Palestinian woman. She recalled being called a “terrorist” in the eighth grade. “I was being called names and being immediately blasted as a person of hatred for another people, but all I was talking about was freeing my father’s people — people who are deeply hurting.” But a recent interaction with an Israeli woman in the streets of New York City has made her realize she’s not afraid to speak up anymore.
“I was just leaving lunch, and this woman came up to me and was like, ‘I just moved to New York from Israel recently, and I told myself that if I ever saw Bella Hadid I would walk up to her and ask why she hates me so much,’” Hadid said, adding that she responded openly, saying that she actually welcomed the conversation, telling the woman that she didn’t hate her and inviting her to speak her mind. “I’m not scared of anything, but I was nervous that I wouldn’t be able to combat whatever she had to say to me,” Hadid said. “But I realized in that conversation, it never had to be combative. All it had to be was two girls talking about their history and hopefully finding a common denominator, which is that we want nobody to die.”