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Bella Hadid calls out Instagram for censoring Palestine post

The model hits out at the social media platform for taking down a story on her father’s birthplace, calling it "bullying"
Bella Hadid called out the platform for "bullying" after it removed her post (AFP/Screengrab, Instagram)

Palestinian-Dutch supermodel Bella Hadid has called out Instagram for removing one of her posts, in which she shared a photo of her father’s passport showing his birthplace as Palestine. 

The 23-year-old model used the social media platform's stories function to proudly show her father Mohamed Hadid's now-expired US passport, which lists his place of birth as Palestine. Alongside the photo, Hadid added the comment, "My baba and his birthplace of Palestine." 

It is not clear why the platform chose to take down the image, however Hadid later shared a screenshot of the message she received from Instagram, citing violations of community guidelines, including harassment and bullying. 

Hadid hit back, tagging Instagram and asking why her post was taken down.

“What part of me being proud of my father’s birthplace of Palestine is 'bullying, harassment, graphic, or sexual nudity'? Are we not allowed to be Palestinian on Instagram? This, to me, is bullying,” her post read. 

“You can’t erase history by silencing people. It doesn’t work like that,” she added. 

Bella hadid palestine

The incident has sparked a broader conversation about social media platforms silencing posts about Palestine. 

Many social media users have since re-shared Hadid's photos online, praising the model for speaking up about her heritage. 

Instagram has since apologised for removing the story. In a statement, Facebook, Instagram's parent company, said:

"To protect the privacy of our community, we don’t allow people to post personal information, such as passport numbers, on Instagram. In this case the passport number was blurred out, so this content shouldn’t have been removed. We’ve restored the content and apologised to Bella for the mistake."

History of solidarity

Hadid has previously spoken about her heritage and her solidarity with Palestinian people. In 2017, the model joined a pro-Palestine protest outside the American embassy in London to oppose US President Donald Trump’s recognition of the whole city of Jerusalem as Israel’s exclusive capital. 

She also took to Instagram at the time to convey her thoughts on the matter, calling the move a major step back for peace.

“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... Jerusalem is home of all religions... the treatment of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated. I stand with Palestine.”

The model’s older sister, Gigi Hadid, has also used social media to campaign for co-existence and the equal treatment of Palestinians and Israelis. 

Like his daughters, Mohamed Hadid, a real estate developer born in 1948 in the town Nazareth now in present-day Israel, regularly uses his Instagram platform to speak on matters related to Palestine, such as the right of return for Palestinians forcibly displaced since 1948, and Palestinian culture, food and heritage.

This article is available in French on Middle East Eye French edition.