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Zara removes controversial ad campaign triggering Gaza boycott

Zara removes controversial ad campaign triggering Gaza boycott ZARA (Getty Images)

Zara removed an advertising campaign from its website and app on Monday, featuring mannequins with missing limbs and statues wrapped in white, following calls by pro-Palestine activists for its boycott, Reuters reports.

Zara, owned by Inditex, faced criticism on Instagram, with the hashtag "#BoycottZara" trending on X.

Its campaign showed one photo depicting a model carrying a mannequin wrapped in white, another showing a bust lying on the floor, and another featuring a mannequin without arms. Critics argued that these images bore a resemblance to photographs of corpses draped in white shrouds in Gaza.

The controversial photos were removed from Zara's online platforms. The collection, consisting of six jackets, is one of Zara's priciest, ranging between $229 and $799.

Zara's reaction

Zara says on Instagram that the Atelier campaign that faced criticism was conceptualized in July, with photos taken in September, before the Israel-Hamas war started after Oct. 7.

"The campaign...presents a series of images of unfinished sculptures in a sculptor's studio and was created with the sole purpose of showcasing craftmade garments in an artistic context," the statement says.

Not the first time

According to Aljazeera, this marks not the first time where the company has faced calls for boycotts from Palestine supporters.

In 2022, videos appeared showing Palestinians burning Zara clothes and urging others to cancel the retail giant. This reaction originated from a Zara store franchise owner in Israel hosting a campaign event for the ultra-right-wing Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir in his home.

Israel-Hamas war

Hamas militants invaded Israel on October 7, initiating attacks on both military and civilian individuals. Soon after, Jerusalem announced Operation Iron Swords and targeted terrorist locations in the Gaza Strip.

On November 24, a temporary ceasefire between Israel and Hamas commenced for the release of prisoners. The parties agreed to a four-day ceasefire, which was later extended for an additional two days on the condition that the militants release more hostages.

On December 1, Israel resumed military operations in the Gaza Strip, with the IDF stating that Hamas had violated the terms of the ceasefire.

According to the Israeli Minister of Defense, Yoav Gallant, Israel resumed fire after Hamas refused to release hostages, including two children.