Miss Universe Philippines has been slammed for passing off Palestinian culture as Israeli during her visit to the Jewish state for the Miss Universe competition, The New Arab reported.
Beatrice Luigi Gomez posted pictures to Instagram of herself and her fellow contestants preparing Palestinian food and wearing traditional Palestinian dresses but captioned them with #VisitIsrael – angering social media users.
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This comes just days before Gomez competes in the 70th edition of Miss Universe in the city of Eilat on December 12, which Israeli organizers hope will promote their country as a tourist destination, despite activists calling for a boycott of the pageant over Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians.
“Miss Universe organisers in Israel and contestants are appropriating Palestinian culture… with zero recognition of the hundreds of generations of Palestinians who passed this cultural identity down,” Twitter user Layth Hanbali said in response to Gomez’s post.
“Needless to say, there is not even a hint to the Palestinians who have had this cultural identity suppressed, denied and stolen by Zionism,” Hanbali continued.
Cultural theft and appropriation of the Palestinian thobe and embroidery during the Miss Universe Beauty Pageant. How much ugliness, monstrosity, and objectification can one event have? https://t.co/AGE0D1ky0O
— نماء (@itsmenamaa) December 7, 2021
Some accused the competition and its contestants of “whitewashing colonialism”, others called Israel out for trying to “steal everything Palestinian related”.
Others still labeled the scenes “cultural theft and appropriation”.
Gomez’s fellow contestants have also caused controversy in the run-up to the competition.
— وكالة شهاب للأنباء (@ShehabAgency) November 28, 2021
A video showing Miss Universe Thailand, Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, entering Jerusalem’s Al-Aqsa Mosque compound sparked anger among Palestinians last week.
Candidates from Indonesia and Malaysia withdrew from the contest following the calls to boycott.
(The New Arab, PC, Social Media)