Boycott Zara Over Offensive Anti-Palestinian Attacks!
Zara’s head designer Vanessa Perilman recently hurled anti-Palestinian attacks at a Palestinian model. We are calling for a boycott of Zara, and demanding Perilman and the company make a genuine apology and educate themselves on the oppression suffered by the Palestinian people! Sign our petition to Perilman and Óscar Pérez Marcote, the CEO of Zara, demanding they make amends.
Dear Vanessa Perilman and Óscar Pérez Marcote,
We write to you to express our outrage and disappointment over recent offensive and Islamophobic anti-Palestinian remarks made by Zara head designer Vanessa Perilman, and to tell you we will never shop at Zara again unless our demands are met.
In June 2021, Palestinian model Qaher Harhash shared messages sent to him by Perilman that contain shockingly bigoted and incorrect statements about Palestine and the Palestinian people. Perilman wrote “Maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up the hospitals and schools that Israel helped to pay for in Gaza” and “Also I think it’s funny that your [sic] a model because in reality that is against what the Muslim faith believes in and if you were to come out of the closet in any Muslim country you would be stoned to death,” among other ignorant jabs. This was all prompted by an Instagram post made by Harhash highlighting the Palestinian struggle and calling for justice.
It is clear to anyone with a heart or a conscience why this message from Perilman is reprehensible and unacceptable. Not only are her statements inaccurate, they are extremely offensive to Palestinians and Muslims and disrespectful of the oppression and violence Palestinians face every day. And that is not all that is objectionable about this situation: we also are upset by Perilman’s weak, self-serving, and manipulative apologies, and by Zara’s refusal to adequately address this issue.
We are calling for Perilman and all at Zara to atone for this hurtful transgression and take this as an opportunity to learn and overcome their biases. Our first demand is that apologies are made. We want a genuine, wholehearted apology from Vanessa Perilman and the Zara corporation, both to Harhash and the Palestinian community as a whole. Our second demand is that amends are made. Perilman must pledge to educate herself about the reality of the Palestinian struggle, looking beyond Israeli and Western propaganda to understand the realities of colonial violence and racism suffered by Palestinians daily. If she refuses to do so, we ask that Perilman’s employment at Zara be terminated. Clearly, if she is unwilling or unable to do the necessary work to overcome her prejudices, she is not fit to work for a global brand.
We also want to draw attention to a suggestion made by Qaher Harhash:
[Zara] also needs to address the Islamophobia which is predominantly ignored in European society… Also, a campaign where they feature Palestinian designers who are incredibly talented should take place as a way to support the Palestinian fashion scene.
As the target of Perilman’s attack, Harhash’s voice must be lifted and what he considers fitting reparations must be respected.
If our demands are not met, we will never again shop at Zara. We will not let our money fund racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Palestinian abuse.
We look forward to hearing how you will comply with our demands.