Fashion designer and blogger Amena Khan, the first woman in a hijab to appear in a L’Oreal hair care campaign, recently stepped down from the campaign after controversy erupted over uncovered tweets from 2014, which were deemed to be “anti-Israel.”
L’Oreal welcomed the apology and agreed with her decision to step down. But what exactly was the tweet in question? ‘
Khan asserted that,”Israel is an illegal state.” and that ”israel=Pharoah[sic]. Both are child murderers. InshA’llah, defeat also awaits the former. Its only a matter of time.”
In making these tweets, Khan aligned herself with Alice Walker, Malcolm X, Nelson Mandela, Angela Davis, Huey Newton, and a myriad of other black activists who have been critical of Israel’s foreign policy and the white supremacist colonial origins of “Israel.” The reality is, if anyone should be apologizing, it should be L’Oreal.
Israel: A Privileged White Settler State
In 1970, Black activists released a statement,”An Appeal by Black Americans Against United States Support for the Zionist government of Israel,” in which they said,”We state Israel, Rhodesia, and South Africa are three privileged white settler states that came into existence by displacing indigenous peoples from their lands.”
Israel, is the last of these white privileged settler states, and it was in fact invested in maintaining the racial caste system in both South Africa and Rhodesia.
In the Israeli Connection: Whom Israel Arms and Why, Benjamin Beit-Hallami, writes,”Shabak, the Israeli secret security police, has a permanent mission in South Africa. The Israelis are there to help with their counterparts in the day to day operations of the apartheid system. Shabak prides itself on its success in keeping the Palestinians under control. Shabak operatives feel they can teach South Africans a thing or two about controlling the natives, and they have been doing that.”
Similarly, Dr. Benjamin Belt Hallahmi writes that,”Israel was clearly committed to the survival of the white regime in Rhodesia and helped it in substantial ways.” Hallahmi documents that Israel shared its military strategies against Palestinians with white settlers of Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa to help them in their counter-insurgency operations against Black freedom fighters.
Even most shocking, Dr. Halliahmi states Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad collaborated with apartheid, South Africa in covertly assassinating members of the African National Congress, an organization which Nelson Mandela once headed to challenge apartheid in South Africa.
Who should be Apologizing?
Khan’s 2014 tweets were written out of her serious concern for Palestinians, who were and continue to be slaughtered by Israel. If people are going to back down to the settler colonist Zionist lobby and apologize for tweets critical of Israel, then who will unapologetically stand up for the 535 Palestinian children killed by Israel in the summer of 2014? Who will stand up for the other numbers of children killed since then?
Who will stand up for the countless Black people Israel helped to mass-murder by supplying the white settlers of Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa, military strategy and weapons? Pro-Israel advocacy groups like StandWithUs, Canary Mission, AIPAC and other Zionist organizations, spend millions of dollars to sanitize Israel’s colonial violence, intimidate activists for Palestinian rights and obscure Israel’s status as a state sponsor of anti-black terrorism.
Tweeting in support of the liberation of Palestine and not apologizing for it is the least we can do to challenge this white privileged settler state.
Amena Khan, you have no reason to apologize for speaking against apartheid. Stand strong sister! We need more who can speak the truth.