Occupied Palestine (The Inside Palestine)- 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.
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.
This comes just days before Gomez competes in the 70th edition of Miss Universe in the city of Eilat on 12 December, which Israeli organisers 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.
Some accused the competition and its contestants of “whitewashing colonialism”, others called Israel out for trying to “steal everything Palestinian related”.
A day of the Palestinian Bedouin life, wearing a Palestinian Thobe, preparing Palestinian/Arabian food, and promoting to visit Israel DON’T get a long together Miss Universe 2021. It’s ignorance, oppressive, and whitewashing colonialism. pic.twitter.com/pvr9rnkNxI
— Issam Adwan 🇵🇸 (@Issam_Adwan) December 8, 2021
Others still labelled the scenes “cultural theft and appropriation”.
Gomez’s fellow contestants have also caused controversy in the run-up to the competition.
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.
Source: New Arab