As CAMERA has noted before, Teen Vogue, a Conde Nast publication aimed at teenage girls with a circulation of over a million, has shifted away from a focus solely on fashion and shopping to include political issues. Last week, in an article ostensibly about model Bella Hadid, the magazine promoted Hamas, and relied on two DJs who together go by the name “Simihaze” for a quote on international law.
The December 7 piece, innocently titled “Bella Hadid Showed Solidarity With Palestinians on Instagram,” begins with a focus on Hadid and her post detailing her thoughts on President Trump’s announcement about Jerusalem earlier that week. Of course, Hadid is perfectly entitled to voice her opinions and feelings to her fans and followers, and in the context of fashion and celebrity gossip, that could be considered newsworthy. After quoting Hadid at length, however, the article by Araceli Cruz takes a dark turn:
Ismail Haniyeh, leader of Hamas– a Palestinian Islamist political organization and militant group –called on people to resist.
“We have given instruction to all Hamas members and to all its wings to be fully ready for any new instructions or orders that may be given to confront this strategic danger that threatens Jerusalem and threatens Palestine,” Haniyeh said, according to The Independent. “United Jerusalem is Arab and Muslim, and it is the capital of the state of Palestine, all of Palestine.”
Cruz does not take the trouble to inform her young readers that in 1997, the US State Department listed Hamas as a terrorist organization. She doesn’t tell them that in 2014 Hamas financed the kidnapping and murder of three boys the same age as many of Teen Vogue‘s readers. Nor will her readers learn that when Haniyeh says “resist,” he doesn’t mean resist by wearing cute pink knitted hats. He means resist by firing rockets aimed at civilians, from civilian areas, including schoolslike the ones Teen Vogue readers attend. Or by tunneling into Israel to kidnap Israeli soldiers, usually teens themselves, or by perpetrating other acts of terrorism.
When Haniyeh says that “United Jerusalem is Arab and Muslim, and it is the capital of the state of Palestine, all of Palestine,” he is asserting a claim to the western section of Jerusalem as well as the eastern section. That territory is within pre-67 Israel – in other words, Haniyeh is denying Israel’s legitimacy in any set of borders.
Instead of explaining these facts, Cruz allows her readers to think Haniyeh’s call for “resistance” is no different than, say, that of a Democratic Congressperson resisting the current President.
Next, the article turns from dark to simply bizarre, as it includes a quote from two young DJs, Simi and Haze Khadra, on what constitutes a violation of international law.
It is absurd that Palestine, a country where Muslims Christians and Jews lived side by side for centuries, has been fighting to be recognized since the inception of Israel in 1948, and to add insult to injury yesterday Trump ‘decided’ to recognize Palestines capital of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel – as if it’s his to give away. This is a violation of international law and a huge setback to any hope for peace. In his speech yesterday, he never once mentioned Palestine but referred to Israel and ‘the Palestinian people’ as if Palestine never existed. Jerusalem is and always has been the capital of occupied Palestine. Declaring Jerusalem as Israels capital is a calculated move to make Palestinians lose hope of ever gaining statehood in their own country. [Punctuation errors in original Instagram post.]
Of course, after 1948, the year Jordan illegally occupied the West Bank, no one at all was fighting to recognize a Palestinian state. Jerusalem, moreover, has never been the capital of a country called Palestine – nor has a country called “Palestine” in fact ever existed. “Palestine” was a designation for a geographic region, and then a British mandate, but it was never a sovereign entity.
As to Simihaze’s claim that “Muslims[,] Christians and Jews lived side by side for centuries,” technically that’s true. The statement ignores, however, that under Islamic rule, Jews and Christians lived as second-class citizens in a type of Middle Eastern Jim Crow.
President Trump did not recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel because he thought it was “his to give away” – quite the opposite, in fact. Trump’s announcement recognized that the city is under Israeli sovereignty, and that international actors have no right to use it as a bargaining chip. Nor did Trump make a “declaration that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” as Cruz wrote in her first paragraph. Only Israel can declare its own capital. Trump simply recognized it.
Like Hadid, Simihaze are perfectly entitled to voice their disagreement with Trump’s decision. No one, however, should hold them out as arbiters of international law – especially to a young and impressionable audience.
While Teen Vogue will no longer run print editions, teens will still be able to access this and its other poorly sourced work online. Teen Vogue should explain why it included such an ignorant quote, with no indication to its readers that most of the quote, and some of the “reporting,” is factually incorrect.
This article was originally published at camera.org.
Contributed by CAMERA’s Karen Bekker.