Nothing makes liberals abandon their values, or their courage, like mentioning Palestine | Arwa Mahdawi

Like Gigi Hadid, my dad is a Palestinian refugee, and I’ve been harassed for suggesting Palestinians deserve human rights

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Progressive, except for Palestine

What starts with “P” ends with “E” and is too terrifying a word for many people to so much as mention? “Palestine”, of course! Simply uttering the P-word in a vaguely sympathetic way can be enough to elicit bad faith accusations of antisemitism. The topic has become so loaded that some people seemingly prefer to pretend Palestine and Palestinians don’t exist and just ignore the issue altogether. Nothing makes liberals abandon their progressive values, or their courage, like someone mentioning Palestine.

Vogue, I’m looking at you here. The magazine recently edited a reference to Palestine out of an Instagram post on its official social media page that was dedicated to supermodel Gigi Hadid’s pledge to donate her all her Fashion Month earnings to relief efforts in Ukraine and Palestine. Last Sunday Gigi, who is half Palestinian, announced that she was giving her earnings “to aid those suffering from the war in Ukraine, as well as continuing to support those experiencing the same in Palestine. Our eyes and hearts must be open to all human injustice”. Vogue initially included the reference to Palestine in the post but removed it after it was accused by a number of pro-Israel voices, in very bad faith, of furthering antisemitism. After an outcry from people who pointed out that it is not antisemitic to support Palestinians, Vogue then amended the post a third time to put the reference back in.

This isn’t the first time that a Hadid has had their comments about Palestine erased on Instagram, by the way. Last year Bella Hadid posted a photo on Instagram of her dad’s US passport which listed his birthplace as Palestine. The social network quickly removed it. Why? According to Instagram the post violated “community guidelines on harassment or bullying” as well as regulations on “hate speech”. After Bella spoke out Instagram offered a few other explanations for it being removed, and then said “Whoops, it was a mistake!”

Like the Hadid sisters, my dad is a Palestinian refugee. Like the Hadid sisters, I’ve also found myself harassed and vilified for daring to suggest that Palestinians deserve human rights. (Unlike the Hadid sisters, alas, I am not a supermodel). As I’ve written previously, there is seemingly no acceptable way for a Palestinian to protest oppression or stand up for our rights.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is heartbreaking. But I want to be very clear that standing with Ukrainians, as we all must do, doesn’t mean ignoring injustice and oppression everywhere else. It doesn’t diminish the struggles of the Ukranian people to ask questions about double standards. It doesn’t detract or distract from what is happening in Ukraine, for example, to ask why a viral picture of a small blonde girl standing up to a soldier in front of a tank was celebrated when people thought that girl was Ukrainian but treated very differently when it was pointed out that the girl was actually Ahed Tamimi, a Palestinian, standing in front of an Israeli soldier.

Indeed, it is desperately important that we ask these sorts of questions. “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” Martin Luther King said. Those are not just pretty words. When you ignore international law in one area then you help weaken international law around the world. When you shrug your shoulders about oppression in one place, you help open up the doors to it in another. Solidarity is not a distraction – it is a verb.

Missouri bill would make it illegal to abort a deadly ectopic pregnancy

Republican state representative Brian Seitz has introduced a restrictive abortion law that would, among other things, outlaw medication given to someone with an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies, where a fertilized egg implants outside of a uterus, are not viable: the legislation is basically telling women to choose between jail and death. “This is what it looks like when uneducated politicians try and legislate our bodies,” a representative from Planned Parenthood told Newsweek in a statement. Unfortunately there are endless examples of this sort of ignorance: a couple of years ago Ohio introduced legislation requiring doctors to “reimplant an ectopic pregnancy” into a woman’s uterus or face charges of “abortion murder”. The problem with that? The procedure does not exist in medical science.

Sheryl Sandberg reckons ‘no two countries run by women would ever go to war’

Sandberg offered this opinion in Dubai during a Cartier event marking International Women’s Day. (A strange place to celebrate IWD, seeing as Dubai has a very dodgy track record when it comes to women’s rights and human rights in general.) The idea that a world run by women would automatically be a kinder, better place is head-bangingly simplistic. Having more women in power means nothing if those women simply lean into a patriarchal model of leadership. What would make the world a better place is if we embraced a more “feminine” model of leadership: it’s an important distinction, which (self-promotion alert!) I happen to have written a book about.

Marjorie Taylor Greene buys defence stocks two days before tweeting ‘war is big business’

Speaking of terrible female leaders, MTG has once again demonstrated that she appears to have zero morals whatsoever.

Ukrainian woman who escaped bombed Mariupol maternity ward gives birth

Pictures of a visibly injured Mariana Vishegirskaya leaving the maternity hospital were targeted by a vile Russia disinformation campaign accusing her of faking the injuries. In happier photos taken on Friday, Vishegirskaya holds her new baby daughter Veronika.

Black and Asian women ‘twice as likely to be on zero-hours contracts as white men’

One million people across the UK are on zero-hours contracts, and women of colour are overrepresented. The Trades Union Congress describes it as “structural racism in action”.

Mississippi assistant principal fired after reading children’s book ‘I Need a New Butt!’

The school was shocked Toby Price would dare to read the book to second-graders when it contained dangerous words like “butt” and “fart”.

Kim Kardashian tells women to ‘Get your fucking ass up and work’

Continuing the butt theme, Kardashian has taken it upon herself to tell women that the key to success is simply hustling harder. “It seems like nobody wants to work these days,” Kardashian complained to Variety. Her thoughts have not gone down very well.

The week in pawtriarchy

A new study has found that just 10 minutes with a therapy dog can help relieve patients’ pain in the emergency room. Dogs really do make everything better.


Arwa Mahdawi

The GuardianTramp

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