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Palestinians call for Zara boycott after franchise in Israel supports racist MP

Chair of the clothing giant’s Israeli franchise hosted far-right lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir for a campaign gathering
A man leaves a Zara store in a shopping thoroughfare in Jerusalem 24 October 2022 (Reuters)
A man leaves a Zara store in a shopping thoroughfare in Jerusalem 24 October 2022 (Reuters)

Palestinians are calling for a boycott of clothing giant Zara after the franchise holder for its Israeli stores hosted far-right MP Itamar Ben-Gvir at his home.

Joey Schwebel, a Canadian-Israeli dual national and chairman of Israel's Zara franchisee Trimera, hosted the notorious anti-Palestinian lawmaker for a campaign event in the lead-up to the Israeli elections. 

Israel's Channel 12 exposed the parlour meeting on Thursday night. Soon after the report, Palestinian citizens of Israel and in occupied territories launched online campaigns calling for the boycott of the fashion store.

Later, videos surfaced of Palestinians burning clothes from Zara and calling on "fellow Palestinians to boycott this racist company".

Itamar Ben-Gvir is head of the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish Power) faction running in Israel's legislative elections next month. 

He recently pulled out a gun on residents of the Palestinian neighbourhood of Sheikh Jarrah in occupied East Jerusalem and has praised Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler who massacred 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (Al-Khalil) in 1994. He told officers in the area: "If they are throwing stones. Shoot them."

Ben-Gvir has previously called for disloyal politicians to be deported from Israel, along with Palestinians who throw stones and Molotov cocktails at police, openly saying he will "promote the Deportation Law".

Earlier this month Ben-Gvir told the Ynet news site that one of his demands for joining any coalition following Israel's elections next month would be changes to open-fire rules for the police and the army. 

It is not the first time Zara has faced boycott calls from Palestinian activists. The company came under fire last year after a Palestinian model revealed anti-Palestinian messages sent by their head designer.

Middle East Eye has contacted Zara for comment but has not received a response.

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