John Galliano is denying that he designed a dress for singer Moran Mazor, which caused an uproar with Israel’s national broadcast authority. In fact, the contestant has been banned by the country’s upcoming Eurovision song contest.
The bigger problem is that Galliano’s anti-Semitic rant from two years ago isn’t forgotten, especially in these parts of the world.
Mazor was quoted in Israeli media last week as saying she reached out to several designers to help her with her dress for the competition, and that Galliano accepted the offer.
Her announcement prompted Yoav Ginai, an executive at the state-run Israel Broadcast Authority, which broadcasts the competition, to fire off a letter to the singer’s representatives saying that she would not be allowed to wear a dress designed by Galliano “under any circumstance.”
The letter referred to Galliano’s drunken tirade at a Paris cafe two years ago, caught on videotape, in which he hurled racist and anti-Semitic insults and slurred, “I love Hitler.” He was dismissed from Christian Dior, left his namesake label and was convicted by a French court on complaints of anti-Semitic behavior.
Galliano has since said he is an alcoholic. He has been in recovery for the past two years and expressed regret for causing pain to the Jewish community.
“I have no doubt that you, too, as an Israeli and a Jew, understand that such a ‘glorious resume,’ especially at a time of racism and anti-Semitism across Europe, denies this man any right to dress or work with a representative of Israel for the Eurovision, even if he has ‘apologized,’” Ginai wrote.
Ginai’s letter drew an angry response from Abraham Foxman, the national director of the Anti-Defamation League, a New York-based group that combats anti-Semitism. In an interview, Foxman said he has met with Galliano five or six times over the past two years and believes his apology is sincere. He said he has put Galliano in touch with Jewish scholars and community leaders and given him books to read.
“I believe that if we want people to change their minds and hearts, you’ve got to accept when they say they are sorry,” Foxman said. “I see a human being who wants to repair.” He said the Israeli refusal to accept his apologies appeared “arrogant and vengeful.”