Europe

Model stands down from L'Oreal campaign over anti-Israel remarks

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A British model who appeared in a campaign wearing a hijab has stepped down over tweets posted in 2014.

A model who this month became the first woman to wear a hijab in a mainstream hair advertisement for L'Oreal, has stood down from the campaign after a backlash over remarks about Israel.

US news website The Daily Caller revealed a series of tweets Amena Khan, from Leicester in England, allegedly posted in 2014 during the Gaza conflict between Israel and Palestinian forces.

The model and beauty blogger allegedly wrote, “Israel is a sinister state”, “Israel = Pharoah” [sic] and “#SaveGaza” in a series of tweets that have since been deleted.

She has since apologised for the tweets, which have been branded as “anti-Israel” by social media users.

“I deeply regret the content of the tweets I made in 2014, and sincerely apologise for the upset and hurt that they have caused,” she wrote.

“Championing diversity is one of my passions, I don’t discriminate against anyone. I have chosen to delete them as they do not represent the message of harmony that I stand for.

“I recently took part in a campaign, which excited me because it celebrated inclusivity. With deep regret, I’ve decided to step down from this campaign because the current conversations surrounding it detract from the positive and inclusive sentiment that it set out to deliver.”

Only one week ago, Ms Khan thanked her followers for the "overwhelming" support she had received following her appearance in the advertisement.

In 2014, Israeli and Palestinian forces clashed for 50 days as Israel launched an offensive on Gaza to put an end to rocket fire.

Militants from both Israel and Palestinian forces were responsible for alleged “serious violations of international and humanitarian law and international human rights law” according to a Human Rights Council report in June 2015.

The Gaza Strip, sandwiched between Egypt and Israel, has been a constant conflict zone. Israel occupied Gaza in the 1967 Middle East war, but removed troops and settlers out of the area in 2005.

However, under a blockade, Israel has imposed tough restrictions on the movement of people and goods in and out of the area for more than a decade as it continued to control its borders and airspace.

Egypt controlled the Rafah border crossing in the south, which is the only gateway to the rest of the world for Gaza’s 1.8 million population.

The main Islamist Palestinian movement Hamas is opposed to the restrictions after Palestinians have suffered socio-economic hardship.

Until recently, the coastal enclave was controlled by the Hamas movement, but under a unity government deal, between Hamas and Fatah, the Palestinian Authority now controls the strip.

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