A Syrian-American journalist’s trip to cover the Miss Universe beauty pageant has sparked controversy on social media, with some accusing her of “whitewashing” Israel. The 70th edition of Miss Universe was held this weekend in the Israeli coastal city of Eilat despite mounting calls to boycott the competition.
“I am now on my first visit to Israel,” Syrian-American journalist Hayvi Bouzo, who has worked with Dubai-based outlet Khaleej Times, wrote on Twitter. “I cover the Miss Universe contest. Stay tuned for my upcoming posts covering this historic event.”
The post attracted mixed reactions on social media. Several Israeli accounts warmly welcomed Bouzo’s visit, in stark contrast to hostile reactions written in Arabic.
“God willing, you will never come back,” or “God willing, it will be the last [visit to Israel]”.
Other users denounced the “whitewashing” of Israeli abuses against Palestinians by Arab public figures like Hayvi. “So glad that Hayvi is not highlighting her Syrian origins in her whitewashing missions because she does not represent us,” one user tweeted.
Bouzo is a Syria-born American journalist who has openly spoken in favor of the normalization of relations with Israel. In November, she took part in a delegation of several Middle Eastern personalities sent to tour the United States at the initiative of Israeli NGO Sharaka, created to promote the U.S.-brokered so-called “Abraham Accords”.
“There are many problematic governments and regimes in the region, but at least those countries that made [the Abraham Accord] deals are doing a good thing,” Bouzo told Israeli daily The Jerusalem Post about the tour.
Signed in September 2020, the accords normalized diplomatic ties between Israel and the UAE, Bahrain, and Morocco. The agreements were slammed by Palestinians and much of the Arab nations as a betrayal of the Palestinian cause.
This article was edited by The Syrian Observer. The Syrian Observer has not verified the content of this story. Responsibility for the information and views set out in this article lies entirely with the author.