Miss Universe Thailand enters Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem

Miss Universe Thailand enters Al-Aqsa compound in Jerusalem, sparking anger
2 min read
30 November, 2021
Anchilee Scott-Kemmis, who is representing Thailand at Miss Universe, was seen visiting the Al-Aqsa compound ahead of the pageant which Palestinians are urging to boycott due to it taking place in Israel.
Al-Aqsa is Islam's third holiest site [Getty]

A video showing Miss Universe Thailand entering Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, accompanied by an armed guard, has sparked anger among Palestinians, according to local media.

Anchilee Scott-Kemmis was seen in a video visiting the Al-Aqsa compound on Sunday afternoon, prior to the global pageant taking place in the city of Eilat and despite global calls for a boycott due to the oppression of Palestinians.

The model in the video appears to be wearing a purple co-ord wrap top and matching trousers, designed by luxury Thai brand Pattarat Bangkok. Scott-Kemmis was pictured on her Instagram page wearing the same outfit, with a hashtag to Jerusalem.

The video showed her with a tour guide entering the courtyard, where she flicks her hair.

The Al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam and a key national symbol for Palestinians. Israeli settlers, backed by soldiers, repeatedly storm the site and harass worshippers.

"There is no beauty in supporting the children killers, there is no beauty without being merciful," one Palestinian activist said about the visit.

"Shame on her, #FreePalestine", another activist said.

The New Arab has reached out to Scott-Kemmis for comment.

Israel will host the 70th edition of the Miss Universe competition on 12 December in Eilat.

Israeli organisers said they want the event to promote their country as a tourist destination.

Eilat is already a popular resort city located in the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea, bordering both Egypt and Jordan.

Activists launched a Twitter campaign under the hashtags #BoycottMissUniverse, #MissUniverse2021 and #theresnobeautyinapartheid. Candidates from Indonesia and Malaysia withdrew following the calls to boycott.

Voices

The decision to hold the contest in Israel has sparked an outcry, with some calling for a boycott of the pageant over the treatment of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and besieged Gaza.

One of the most prominent voices calling for a boycott was that of Inkosi Zwelivelile Mandla Mandela, the grandson of former South African President Nelson Mandela.

"Israel is an Apartheid State and we will continue to mobilise all freedom loving people of the world to boycott, divest and pass sanctions against the brutal apartheid regime," Mandela said in a statement to Mvezo Komkhulu.

"We must persist in isolating Apartheid Israel in the same way that we isolated Apartheid South Africa," he added.

Mandela also praised the winners of Miss Malaysia and Miss Indonesia who both announced their intention to boycott the event.