Earlier this month, shocking violence erupted in Israel.
A Hamas-led strike led to the death or kidnapping of hundreds of Israeli citizens. Israel’s military began a campaign of starvation and large-scale bombing. Thousands of Palestinians in Gaza are dead.
Though some of her statements were fair, Mia Khalifa’s incendiary comments brought on brand backlash. She lost two jobs over her contentious tweets.
But, after taking some time to reflect, she’s not backing down.
Several years ago, Mia Khalifa retired from the adult film entertainment industry. She has remained a public figure, linking her platform to various brands.
Earlier this month, the former most watched performer on PornHub lost at least two business deals.
She had voiced her support for what she called Palestinian “freedom fighters.” She was referring to Hamas, and the one-sided sympathy and lack of nuance did not go over well.
To briefly recap this harrowing series of events, we must first start with what didn’t make headlines.
Israeli occupation of Palestine has been ongoing for generations. This is an apartheid situation, where settler violence is commonplace. Human rights experts have referred to the situation as “peacetime ethnic cleansing.”
Over the past year or so, conditions have grown even worse for Palestinians. Many have likened Gaza to an “open-air prison.”
On October 7, Hamas — a militant movement and also one of the political parties among Palestinians — stormed into Israel. They killed hundreds, kidnapped hostages — including children and music festival attendees.
Hamas has proclaimed that this attack is a fight for freedom, and that it is retribution for the worsening conditions that Palestinians face.
The planning of this attack was secret. It seems that no intelligence agencies were aware of it — let alone the Palestinian people.
Israel’s controversial and recently embattled Prime Minister, Benjamin Netayahu, declared that his government was “at war.”
What has followed has been weeks of Israeli missile strikes, leveling neighborhoods, apartment buildings, and numerous hospitals. Thousands are dead.
Israel has also cut off all food, fuel, and medicine into Gaza. The small territory houses 2.3 million people — nearly half of whom are children.
The world has watched in horror as Israeli forces annihilate buildings. Countless human rights experts have noted that this is a clear case of collective punishment — shelling civilians as revenge for Hamas’ atrocities.
Additionally, statements from within the Israeli government have been particularly alarming.
Some have likened the civilian death toll to some of history’s most gruesome wars. Others have suggested that, by the end, Israel will rebuild Gaza without any Palestinians whatsoever. Officially, that is not Israel’s public position, but the lack of an alternative endgame is alarming.
After her controversial posts — not merely pro-Palestinian, but seemingly pro-Hamas in a way that implied that their attacks on civilians were justified — Mia Khalifa spent some time posting less.
However, she is back at it, continuing to post. In some cases, criticizing what appear to be Israeli war crimes and advocating for the Palestinian people, her posts are like thousands of others.
But she has also seemingly doubled down on her defense of Hamas, noting that countries like the US and the UK which have labeled Hamas a “terrorist group” have their own genocidal histories. (True! Doesn’t automatically make the label incorrect, though)
One major incident was the catastrophic explosion at the al-Ahli Hospital, which killed 500.
Even with the Israeli military issuing repeated warnings for hospitals to evacuate before they are destroyed, not all patients can be moved. And in all of the rubble and carnage, there are fewer and fewer places to go.
Interestingly, the Israeli government has blamed Hamas for the destruction of the hospital.
As people have pointed out, if someone only cares about civilian victims — many of them children — on one side of the conflict, that doesn’t make them a humanitarian. It makes them a partisan.
We all wish that Mia Khalifa were using her platform in a way that highlights the genocidal violence underway in Gaza.
It’s her social media. She can use it how she likes. But repeated defenses of Hamas — an organization that Middle Eastern media has grilled for their actions — don’t seem to be helping anyone or anything. Including her.
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