War is classified as one within the borders and the other outside the confines, with a broader horizon. The Israel-Hamas war is no longer between two territories; it has surpassed throughout the world, where people are fighting for ideologies, religion, and the binary line between right and wrong.
But somewhere in the benign digital war, humanity is suppressed as people are dying every second when one presses the “Send Tweet” button or “post” a story.
As the incessant airstrikes continue to wipe out Gaza’s existence, the discourse continues who is accountable.
Amidst such sensitive subjects, posting any kind of comments/remarks can trigger a wave of criticism and backslash on either side.
Israeli designer Dodo Bar Or faces pushback after her October 30, 2023, Instagram story compared the Hamas Militant group to ISIS. The video seems to be a spoof of a scene from the movie “Independence Day,” where an alien spaceship hovers around the city, with background music of Muslim prayers call. She further captioned it with ‘The West Is Next’ and ‘#Hamas=Isis #FreeGazaFromHamas.’
Considering this as a form of hate speech, Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa chains pulled out the Israeli designer’s collection.
What Did The Israeli Fashion Designer Dodo Bar Or Comment?
The Israeli fashion designer Dodo Bar Or is a prominent name in the international fashion scene.
However, the day she decided to post a controversial story might have changed the trajectory of her influence. Dodo’s Instagram story showed an alien spaceship surrounded by Palestinian and ISIS flags. The spaceship was floating over prominent Western countries.
The scene, straight out of the 1996 blockbuster hit “Independence Day,” implied that Hamas is a deadly terrorist organization that will attack the West next after wreaking havoc on Israel (referring to the October 7 attacks).
The text of the story needed no effort in reading between the lines; her message was straightforward–
‘The West Is Next’ and ‘#Hamas=Isis # FreeGazaFromHamas’.
Dodo Bar Or Controversy With Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa Explained
The story garnered heavy eyeballs with a flood of backlash. The well-known designer was criticized for the blatant racist portrayal of Palestine.
Subsequently, Net-a-Porter and MyTheresa withdrew their association with the Israeli designer by pulling out her collection from their website. MyTheresa also put out a statement after they were made aware of the designer’s story, stating–
“MyTheresa stands firmly against violence and terrorism. We do not tolerate any kind of hate speech.”
Netizens are split with this decision when one side lauded the online retailers for their response while the other condemned them for suppressing someone’s freedom of speech.
Netizens also pointed out that Dodo Bar Or said the same thing that President Biden has previously stated: that Hamas is a terrorist group. They believe that removing the designer was an unwarranted response to the controversy.
On the flip side, some also noted the hypocrisy of Dodo’s Islamophobia when her designs are a reflection of the keffiyeh, a symbol of Palestinian nationalism in 1936-1939 during the Arab revolt in Palestine. The irony stems from the designer banking on her keffiyeh-inspired Kaftans while having extreme views on Islam. Her website even states that her designs “draws on her Middle Eastern heritage for inspiration.”
Several other celebrities, influential figures, and corporations have faced backlash since the war started over any polarized view, including Eric Nam, Pink, Starbucks, Jamie Lee Curtis, Nozima Husainova, Seth Crosby, and Tara Strong, among many others.
This raises the question of the fine line between freedom of expression and perpetuating propaganda. Where do you think Dodo Bar Or lies on this spectrum?
Do you think it was fair to remove her collection from the luxury retailers? Do you agree with her opinion that Hamas is equivalent to ISIS? Did the post convey Islamophobia, or was it pertaining only to Hamas?
Let us know in the comments section below.