Gigi Hadid on Tuesday walked back her false claim that Israel is the “only country in the world” that keeps children as prisoners of war, saying she did not “fact check” before posting.
The 28-year-old model, who is of Palestinian descent, was hit with a barrage of criticism for the now-deleted Instagram post, in which she also accused Israel in all-caps of the “abduction, rape, humiliation, torture, [and] murder” of Palestinians for “years and years and years” prior to the Hamas attacks of Oct. 7.
The post also invoked Ahmad Manasra, the Palestinian youth jailed by Israel after being convicted of stabbing two Israelis in 2015. Manasra, then 13 years old, was tried on two counts of attempted murder after the attacks, which wounded a 20-year-old security guard and another 13-year-old boy. The teenager was ordered to serve 12 years in prison, a sentence that was later reduced to 9-and-a-half-years.
Hadid had claimed that Manasra was “abducted” by the Israeli government, adding that he “has endured solitary confinement despite his severe health condition.” (Amnesty International said in September that a “gravely unwell” Manasra had spent “the better part of two years in solitary confinement” and was suffering from severe mental health issues.)
In a lengthy statement addressing the outrage on Tuesday, Hadid told her 79 million Instagram followers that “the endless heartbreaking news and imagery coming out of Gaza has been painful and often overwhelming” for her.
“It is important to me to share the real stories about the hardships that Palestinians have endured and continue to endure,” she continued, “but this weekend I shared something that I did not fact check or deeply think about prior to posting.”
In reference to Manasra, Hadid explained: “I wanted to show the ways in which international law is being undermined by the Israeli government. In this case, I was trying to highlight how Palestinian children who are arrested by the IDF are often not given the same rights as an Israeli child accused of the same crime would. Unfortunately, I used the wrong example to make that point and I regret that.”
Hadid, as she has in previous social media statements, went on to re-emphasize that “attacking any human, which of course includes Jewish people, is NEVER OK. Taking innocent people hostage is NEVER OK. Harming someone BECAUSE they are Jewish is NEVER OK.”
But, she added, it was possible to advocate for both Palestinians and the safety of Jewish people at the same time. “No matter the crime, when speaking about democracy, everyone should have the same rights—and a Palestinian child, even if he is accused of a horrific crime, deserves the same rights that an Israeli child would have under the same circumstances.”
Hadid noted she did not “stand behind the spreading of misinformation,” and said she held herself accountable for her mistakes.
“I owe it to myself and my followers to gather my thoughts and share them in a more constructive way as I pursue my goal of bringing attention to violations of international law and human rights,” she said.