After Israeli Culture Minister Miri Regev wore a dress celebrating Israel’s conquest of Jerusalem at Cannes yesterday, social media lit up with parodies. The redesigns include an added separation wall into the Old City scene, air strikes over Gaza, soldiers raiding a Palestinian home, and a tribute to leading hunger striking prisoner Marwan Barghouti.
The original gown has an image of Jerusalem on the skirt, showing the Old City and the iconic Muslim site the Dome of the Rock. It was created by Swedish-Israeli designer Aviad Arik Herman.
Herman posted pictures of Regev at Cannes on his Instagram account (the original photos are credited to Eli Sabati), prompting some to reply critically of the design. While Israel sees Jerusalem as its capital, international law does not recognize the conquest of territory through acts of warfare. East Jerusalem, the part of the city drawn onto the dress, is considered an occupied territory.
Regev defended the concept behind the dress, marking Israel’s capture of Jerusalem during the June 1967 war.
“This year we are celebrating 50 years since the liberation and reunification of Jerusalem,” Regev said, according to the Jewish Chronicle.
“I am proud to celebrate this historic date through art and fashion, and I am happy that this work … is so moving and honours the beautiful status of our eternal capital, Jerusalem,” she continued.
Responses flooded Twitter with social media mocking Regev, digitally altering her apparel with snapshots of Israel’s occupation of Jerusalem, the West Bank, and Gaza.
— John Reed (@JohninJerusalem) May 18, 2017
— Bina Shah (@BinaShah) May 18, 2017
— New Israel Fund (@NewIsraelFund) May 18, 2017
— Eylon A. Levy (@EylonALevy) May 18, 2017
— achraf tazi (@ach_tazi) May 18, 2017
— mcmounes (@mcmounes) May 18, 2017
— Muhannad M. Khalil (@Muhannad_Khalil) May 18, 2017
— ☾☾☾H🇹🇷 (@H__________H_) May 18, 2017
Regev’s appearance at Cannes comes amid a squabble between the Trump administration and Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the status of Jerusalem. Israeli television identified U.S. consular staffer in Jerusalem, David Berns, as the official who earlier in the week told Netanyahu aides that the Western Wall in the Old City “is not your territory, it’s part of the West Bank,” the Forward reported.
The Western Wall takes up a large swath of the lower portion of Regev’s dress. The Jewish holy site became a matter of debate after Israel officials pressured the U.S. consulate in Jerusalem to coordinate a stop at the wall on Donald Trump’s upcoming trip to the region. While Trump is not likely to visit the wall, the new U.S. ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, was photographed at the wall on his first day in-country at the start of the week. Oddly, Aerosmith front man Steven Tyler happened to be there at the same time.
After Friedman departed from the Old City he met with Netanyahu, who applauded the controversial visit.
“Welcome. It’s a pleasure to see you and to welcome you to Jerusalem, our eternal capital. I know you went to the Kotel [Western Wall]. It’s deeply appreciated by all our people,” Netanyahu told Friedman according to a statement from his office.
“There was no other place to go,” Friedman responded, to which Netanyahu added, “It was a strong gesture of solidarity. We look forward to receiving President Trump and we want to work with you and with the President these coming years to strengthen our great alliance.”