by Rosie Alfatlawi
Jerusalem: the world’s most disputed city. Holy for three of the world’s major religions, occupied since 1967 and deeply divided, al-Quds (as it is known in Arabic) is no stranger to controversy.
So when the Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev decided to wear a dress depicting the ancient city it was always going to attract attention. It would have been impossible to predict, however, that the politico-fashion statement would set social media alight with such vigor.
The choice of attire was apparently her way of celebrating 50 years since the occupation of East Jerusalem during the Six-Day war.
Israel's Minister of Culture showed up in this dress to the Cannes Film Festival yday to mark 50 years of Jerusalem's "reunification" pic.twitter.com/ImPEfIOA9w— Elizabeth Tsurkov (@Elizrael) May 18, 2017
The dress sparked a meme-creating frenzy in Israel and beyond, with some Israelis taking the right-wing politician’s problematic clothing decision as an opportunity to highlight the injustices of the ongoing Israeli occupation.
Occupation-chic. Here is Miri Regev: I have corrected you with other parts of Jerusalem.
The Israeli NGO Peace Now, which advocates for the two-state solution, used the dress as a billboard to promote an upcoming rally.
Others used the dress as a canvas for referencing continued clashes in the volatile city.
Many Israelis, however, have made light of the dress with their memes, for instance replacing Jerusalem with an image of a local restaurant, or showing an alien invasion of the city.
While it might be a laughing matter for some, for Palestinians, many of whom cannot visit or live in Jerusalem, the decision to wear the dress felt like a slap in the face, and they took to social media in protest.
فستان وزيرة الثقافة الإسرائيلية كانت من الفساتين المثيرة للجدل بصورة القدس أسفل الفستان— Fashion Police (@WejdanFashion) May 17, 2017
( عندما يتباهى السارق بما سرق ) pic.twitter.com/XfWcl80Vtu
The dress of the Israeli Minister of Culture was one of the most controversial [at the festival] as it depicts Jerusalem at the bottom. (The thief boasts of what he stole)
الأن فقط سيطالب السادة العلماء والشيوخ الكرام ب "تحرير" الأقصى ، بعد أن أرتدت وزيرة الثقافة الإسرائيلية فستان الأقصى بمهرجان كان pic.twitter.com/jq3Kc7jEDB— شادي درباس (@drbas465702) May 18, 2017
Only now will the honorable scholars and elders call for the "liberation" of Al Aqsa, after the Israeli Minister of Culture wore the Al Aqsa dress at the Cannes Festival.
The Minister, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, is no stranger to controversy. In 2012, she described African immigrants to Israel as a “cancer in the nation’s body.”
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