Zara Faces Boycott Calls After Franchise Owners in Israel Hosted Racist Politicians

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Leading fashion company Zara has faced calls for a boycott after the franchise holder for Zara stores in Israel hosted far-right extremist lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir at his home.

Israel’s Channel 12 reported on Thursday that Joey Schwebel, the Canadian-Israeli franchisee of fashion group Inditex, which includes Zara, hosted Ben-Gvir at his home for a champagne show.

Ben-Gvir heads the ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit (Jewish power) faction next month in Israel’s legislative elections.

He regularly incites violence against Palestinians – participating in settler raids on Al-Aqsa Mosque and East Jerusalem neighborhoods. Sheikh dam has been personally involved in several violence with Palestinians.

Most recently, Ben-Gvir brandished a gun against Palestinians in Sheikh Jarrah, occupied East Jerusalem. He even praised Baruch Goldstein, an Israeli settler who massacred 29 Palestinians at the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron (Al-Khalil) in 1994.

Ben-Gvir has previously also called for disloyal politicians to be deported from Israel along with Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at police, while at the same time openly saying he will promote “the Deportation Law.”

Immediately after Channel 12 reported the meeting, a video showing a Palestinian citizen of Israel burning Zara’s clothes and calling for a boycott of the brand circulated on social media.

Palestinian authorities also condemned Zara for the meeting with Ben-Gvir, while the head of the Palestinian court issued a ruling barring people from dealing with the company, Palestinian news agency WAFA reported.

It is not the first time Zara has faced calls for a boycott from Palestinian activists. The brand also met calls for a boycott last year after the chief designer for Zara’s women’s department, Vanessa Perilman, was caught attacking Palestinian model Qaher Harhash with anti-Palestinian messages in a private Instagram message, weeks after Israel launched an 11-day bombing campaign in the besieged Gaza Strip.

Harhash has since called on her followers to boycott the brand using the hashtag #BoycottZara, which has since trended on social media due to its lack of sustainability and questionable ethics as a fast fashion brand.

Zara has also been scrutinized for allegedly exploiting China’s Uyghur Muslim minority.

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