Proud to be Palestinian: Bella Hadid Defends her Heritage
By: Laila Shadid/Arab America Contributing Writer
“I am proud to be Palestinian,” supermodel Bella Khair Hadid posted on her Instagram story after the social media platform flagged a photo of her father’s old passport—his birthplace, Palestine.
On July 2, 23-year-old Bella Hadid posted the photo above with the words, “My baba and his birthplace of Palestine.” Five days later, Instagram flagged the post, with the explanation: “Your Story Goes Against Our Community Guidelines.”
“We don’t allow certain things,” Instagram said in their message, “including Graphic violence. Hate speech, harassment, and bullying. Nudity and sexual activity.”
Hadid posted and responded to this message on her story for 31.6 million followers.
“Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram?” she asked. “This, to me, is bullying.”
“You can’t erase history by silencing people,” Hadid continued. “It doesn’t work like that.”
Hadid later reposted the deleted photo of her father’s passport (as seen above), and asked the social media site, “Do you want him to change his birthplace for you?”
According to Page Six, a spokesperson from Instagram’s parent company, Facebook, apologized to Hadid.
“To protect the privacy of our community, we don’t allow people to post personal information, such as passport numbers, on Instagram,” Facebook said. “In this case, the passport number was blurred out, so this content shouldn’t have been removed. We’ve restored the content and apologized to Bella for the mistake.”
Hadid has received support from many fans, followers, and the fellow Arab community.
Moreover, members of the Palestinian community shared their heritage through their own Instagram stories, some of which Hadid reposted.
“Your fellow proud Palestinian,” Brooklyn artist Nadia Tayeh added to her story with a photo of her riding a donkey during her first visit to Palestine at two-years-old.
The Family’s Palestinian Roots
Sibling models Bella, Gigi, and Anwar Hadid are Palestinian-Dutch.
Their father, 71-year-old real estate developer, Mohamed Anwar Hadid, was born in Palestine during the British Mandate. However, Jewish immigrants evicted his family from their home in 1948 during the Nakba.
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My Family’s Home in Safad .. when we lived in Tunisia .. I asked my Father,, But why father you took a Jewish family from a boat full of refugees from Poland in Haifa, Into our Home in SAFAD Palestine? . .. I would never forget what he said .. He reminded me that Jewish people and their destiny mattered to Him.. did that mean. Jewish life Mattered to my father then in 1946 .. and his friends that took other families into there homes as guest. But we became refugees in 1948. 1949 to Syria to labanon to Tunisia To The USA. Jewish life mattered to us then .. hope one day will see the light to Have Palestinian life matters .. the day will come for coexistence In peace, respect .. Love you Babba Anwar Hadid ..
At the Harvard Arab Conference in 2019—the largest Arab conference in North America—Mohamed accepted an award with his five children by his side.
“My parents always embedded in us that we are Palestinians, we’ll always be Palestinians, so my home has always been that virtual home, where my mum, my dad, my kids were learning to roll grape leaves with their grandma,” Mohamed said in his acceptance speech. “I’ll always be a simple man from Palestine.”
After the event, Mohamed posted a photo of his children with the caption: “I want my kids to carry the torch for the future—not to burn anyone or anything, but to shed the light on the injustice toward the Palestinian people.”
Hadid Family Activism
Mohamed is not the only Hadid to advocate for Palestinian lives—Gigi, Bella, and Anwar Hadid have all spoken out against injustices committed against the Palestinian community.
In 2017, Bella condemned Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and his plans to build a new U.S. embassy in the occupied Palestinian city.
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💔I’ve been waiting to put this into perfect words but I realized there is no perfect way to speak of something so unjust. A very very sad day.Watching the news and seeing the pain of the Palestinian people makes me cry for the many many generations of Palestine. Seeing the sadness of my father, cousins, and Palestinian family that are feeling for our Palestinian ancestors makes this even harder to write. Jerusalem is home of all religions. For this to happen, I feel, makes us take 5 steps back making it harder to live in a world of peace. The TREATMENT of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated. I stand with Palestine. There is no hate against anyone… There are no sides… All religions living side by side.. Now it is Just one man..it has always been a factor of trying to bring peace… Where is the hope..?
Bella turned her words into actions by joining a “Free Palestine” protest in London after sharing this Instagram post.
When the U.S. embassy opened in 2018, the Israeli military violently quelled Gazan protests. In response, Gigi shared a Tweet with the hashtag #freegaza.
In April of 2019, Anwar visited Palestine and posted photos of his homeland.
“My brothers and I touched the motherland today,” he wrote on Instagram. “Much culture and beauty and PEOPLE that need to be seen and heard.”
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My brothers and i touched the mother land today😭🇵🇸 much culture and beauty and PEOPLE that need to be seen + heard💖💖 hopefully we can show u guys the DEEP rooted DETAILS that effect our people everyday, even the ones who are too young to understand, these things have been engraved into their lives. I feel like this could give us all good perspectives of our own lives, to see what is truly true and real vs what is told to us to be true
The Hadid family is proud to be Palestinian.
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