Zara condemns designer for lashing out at model who called Israel ‘evil’

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

Zara condemns designer for lashing out at model who called Israel ‘evil’

Fashion retailer called out one of its Jewish designers, Vanessa Perilman, for comments made to Qaher Harhash, accusing his people of 'blowing up hospitals'

Zara (Wikipedia/Author	Lollasp/CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)
Zara (Wikipedia/Author Lollasp/CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0)

The fashion retailer Zara condemned one of its Jewish designers for telling a Palestinian model that “maybe if your people were educated then they wouldn’t blow up the hospitals.”

Zara on Tuesday made the statement about Vanessa Perilman, the head designer for Zara’s women’s department, who wrote the comment on Instagram to model Qaher Harhash, who is from eastern Jerusalem. Perilman initiated the discussion because Harhash had called Israel “evil,” according to reports. He has claimed falsely that Israel withholds drinking water from Arabs in Jerusalem while providing it readily to Jews.

“Israelis don’t teach children to hate nor throw stones at soldiers as your people do,” Perilman wrote to Harhash in one of several private messages on Instagram that were screenshot and later shared publicly.

“I think it’s funny that you are 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,” she added.

Harhash wrote in response to Perilman: “Does your little brain teach you about power dynamics and how this could possibly hurt me?” and shared the correspondence, leading to criticism of Zara online.

“We condemn these comments that do not reflect our core values of respect for one another, and we regret the offense that they have caused,” Zara said in a statement about Perilman’s words.

Perilman has apologised to Harhash in private messages on Instagram, saying she spoke out of “anger” over alleged vitriol against Israel during and after its 11-day skirmish with Hamas last month.


Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...


Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.


There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.


In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.


Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more: