Zara pulls controversial ad from website after Gaza boycott calls

Inditex, the company that owns Zara, says the change was part of a normal process of refreshing content.

A man walks with a Zara bag
A man walks with a Zara bag in central Madrid, Spain, on December 11 [Susana Vera/Reuters]

The fashion company Zara has removed a controversial advertising campaign from the front page of its website after pro-Palestine activists called for a boycott of the retailer.

Inditex, the company that owns Zara, said on Monday that the change was part of a normal process of refreshing content and that the photos were taken in September, before the current war between Hamas and Israel.

The advertisement campaign featured mannequins that were missing limbs and statues wrapped in a white shroud. Some activists said the photographs resembled images from Israel’s assault on Gaza, where thousands of Palestinians have been killed and thousands of others wounded.

Zara’s Instagram account saw tens of thousands of comments posted about the photos, many with Palestinian flags, while “#BoycottZara” was trending on messaging platform X.

A Palestinian man writes on the white shroud covering his wife's body
Palestinian man Jehad al-Kafarnah holds his eight-month-old stillborn girl as he writes on his wife’s shrouded body after both were killed in an Israeli strike, at a hospital in the northern Gaza Strip, on October 27 [Anas al-Shareef/Reuters]

The incident comes as Israel’s assault on the besieged Gaza Strip enters its third month, with Palestinian authorities saying that more than 18,000 people have been killed, mostly women and children.

Zara has said that the ad campaign was conceived in July, the photographs taken in September, and that it was inspired by men’s tailoring from past centuries. The company has not commented on boycott calls.

It is not the first time that the company has been targeted for boycott by supporters of Palestine.

In 2022, some Palestinians posted videos of them burning Zara clothes and calling for others not to support the retail giant after a franchise owner of Zara stores in Israel hosted a campaign event for the ultra-right-wing Israeli politician Itamar Ben-Gvir in his home.

Ben-Gvir took to social media himself to defend the company at the time.

“Zara, cool clothes, cool Israelis,” he said in a social media post.

Source: Al Jazeera, Reuters