Social media users reacted with anger after an Emirati channel’s hosting of an Israeli public figure to discuss “Israeli cuisine” earlier this month.
Dubai TV welcomed Rabbi Levi Duchman onto its Morning Expo show, which highlights ongoing activities at Dubai Expo 2020, to talk about “Israeli cuisine” and “dishes from original residents” – the latter seemingly a reference to Palestinians.
In the interview, conducted through an English translator, the presenter asked Duchman to speak about the “distinguishing features of Israeli cuisine” and its “similarities with Arab cuisine” due to the influence of “patterns of migration”.
The screen behind them showed images of Palestinian and Arabic food, including couscous and hummus.
Social media users said Dubai TV was allowing Israel to ‘culture-wash‘ its occupation of Palestine and called the UAE a “sellout”.
Israel and the UAE normalized ties in 2020, signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords.
Since then, the two countries have concluded deals to cooperate across a dizzying array of sectors, including intelligence, security, agriculture, education, and finance.
Palestinians and their supporters regularly accuse Israel of cultural appropriation.
Contestants from last year’s Miss Universe pageant, held in Israel, caused a stir at an event in the port city of Eilat by appearing in photos wearing traditional Palestinian dress they captioned in Instagram posts as being the clothes of “Israel’s Bedouin”.
At the event, contestants were asked to prepare traditional Palestinian dishes such as stuffed vine leaves and take part in other activities influenced by Palestinian culture.
The photos sparked uproar on social media, and demonstrations in the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah.