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The Miss Universe announcement did not only make people happy…

The Miss Universe Organization (MUO) recently announced the pageant’s next venue: Eilat, a resort city in the southernmost part of Israel. The 70th Miss Universe pageant will also see the return of veteran television personality Steve Harvey as host. The three-hour event will be broadcasted live on Fox in the United States and in 180 countries and territories in December.

Despite its low COVID-19 cases, the MUO’s decision to choose Israel as the venue for the Miss Universe pageant didn’t sit well with some fans who questioned the organization’s decision and unfortunately the hashtag #BoycottMissUniverse has already surfaced on social media where some Filipinos echo accusations of “apartheid” and “genocide” against Israel in its conflict with Palestine. Many netizens in the Middle East, as well as the United States and neighbouring Indonesia, have agreed with the boycott, in solidarity with the suffering Palestinian people. With the constant bombings and killing of Palestine’s inhabitants, Israel has definitely committed genocide against Palestinians along with many other human rights violations.

“Find another host country,” one online user commented in response to MUO’s post.

Another pageant fan pointed out that the Philippines’ Gazini Ganados‘ father is from Palestine.

‘Apartheid’

Other Twitter users outside the Philippines also criticized the venue choice. One referenced South Africa’s apartheid in describing Israel’s occupation.

“@Official_MissSA, I hope you’re not going to send our Queen, Miss South Africa, to compete in an apartheid state given the history of this country. We stand with Palestine. #MissUniverse #FreePalestine #BoycottMissUniverse,” an online user wrote.

The use of the term “apartheid” against Israel was most recently attributed to rights watchdog Human Rights Watch, which accuses the Middle Eastern country of crimes against humanity in its conflict with the Palestinians. Some observers and experts, however, reject the appropriation of the term, which is derived from an Afrikaans word meaning “apartness.”

We find it unfortunate at Inside Pageant that the beauty contests are at the center of political considerations. Of course, we are opposite the oppression of peoples, but also against all forms of discrimination. The beauty contests could be the voice of victim of discrimination, prejudice or bigotry and fight against them without boycott like the Myanmar’s girls on the stage of Miss Grand International or of Miss Universe this year. 

There might be potential boycotts towards the 70th edition of Miss Universe especially from Malaysia and Indonesia who have banned their citizens from travelling to Israel. Nevertheless, let’s just wait for the updates from countries all around the world before jumping to conclusions.

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