Backlash after Dubai TV hosts rabbi to talk about 'Israeli cuisine'

Backlash after Dubai TV hosts rabbi to talk about 'Israeli cuisine'
2 min read
28 January, 2022
Social media users reacted with anger after Rabbi Levi Duchman appeared on Dubai TV discussing '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 with anger after an Emirati channel discussed "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 normalised 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.

Israel is also participating in the ongoing Dubai Expo 2020. Pro-Palestine activists called for a boycott of the event because of the UAE's normalisation of ties with Israel.

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.