Backlash after Dubai TV hosts’ rabbi talks about ‘Israeli cuisine’

Social media users reacted angrily after Israeli Rabbi Levi Duchman appeared on Dubai TV to discuss “Israeli cuisine” while talking about traditionally Palestinian dishes.

Rabbi Levi Duchman has become an increasingly prominent voice within Dubai’s Jewish community [Getty]

Social media users reacted angrily after an Emirati channel hosted an Israeli public figure to discuss “Israeli cuisine” earlier this month.

Dubai TV hosted Rabbi Levi Duchman on his Morning Expo show, which highlights ongoing activities at Dubai Expo 2020, to talk about “Israeli cuisine” and “original resident dishes” – the latter apparently doing reference to the Palestinians.

In the interview, conducted through an English translator, the presenter asked Duchman to talk about the “distinctive characteristics of Israeli cuisine” and its “similarities with Arabic cuisine” due to the influence of “migration patterns”.

The screen behind them showed images of Palestinian and Arab dishes, including couscous and hummus.

Social media users said Dubai TV was enabling Israel to “wash the culture” from its occupation of Palestine, and called the UAE a “sellout”.

Israel and the United Arab Emirates normalized their relations in 2020, signing the US-brokered Abraham Accords.

Since then, the two countries have entered into cooperation agreements in a dizzying array of sectors, including intelligence, security, agriculture, education and finance.

Israel is also participating in the ongoing Expo 2020 Dubai. Pro-Palestine activists have called for a boycott of the event due to the normalization of UAE ties with Israel.

Palestinians and their supporters regularly accuse Israel of cultural appropriation.

Contestants in 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 clothing they under -headlined in Instagram posts as the clothes of “Israel’s Bedouin”.

During the event, participants were invited to prepare traditional Palestinian dishes such as stuffed grape leaves and participate in other activities influenced by Palestinian culture.

The photos sparked a social media outcry and protests in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.

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