And now, with the Israel-haters having gotten their knickers in a twist to no avail, may those 78 winsome girls strut their stuff on stage in sunny Eilat — let the dames begin! Writes Hugh Fitzgerald
This year’s Miss Universe contest will be held in Eilat, Israel. This, of course, has caused great consternation among the army of Israel-haters, who since early October have been pressuring contestants to withdraw from the competition rather than be seen to endorse the hideous “apartheid” state of Israel by showing up in Eilat.
Much of the news was about someone who was described — falsely, as it turned out — as Miss Greece, who announced she would not be attending because of Israel‘s harsh policies toward the Palestinians.
On October 1, that supposed winner of the Miss Greece pageant, Rafaela Plastira, gave a vague statement that she was withdrawing from competing in Miss Universe because, mumble mumble, Israel.
Her exact words were:
I will not be attending “Miss universe” this year. The reason for that is the country. I am absolutely not disrespecting the country. I love all countries from all over the world but my heart goes to all the people fighting for there [sic] lives in Israel & Palestina. I can’t go up that stage and act like nothing is happening when people are fighting for there [sic] lives out there.
It’s a confused mess, but If you want to interpret that as an anti-Israel statement, go right ahead.
Greek news sites ignored her story. And that was because Rafaela Plastira is a fake. She never was Miss Greece. Her self-description was uncritically accepted by many outside of Greece who failed to check her story because she appealed to the international army of BDSers. She was held up as the brave contestant who withdrew from the Miss Universe contest so as not to be thought of as having endorsed Israel. Rafaela Plastira called herself “Miss Greece” and was referred to in the media that way. But she is merely a model who won some local beauty contest, and decided to give herself a promotion. According to a statement posted on Facebook by Giorgos Kouvaris, president of Star Hellas, Plastira “won the Star Hellas 2019 title, and this is the only title she has. She was never supposed to represent our country in the Miss Universe pageant.”
And then there is Miss Morocco. The “Palestine Solidarity Alliance” tweeted that Miss Morocco had announced that she was withdrawing from the Miss Universe contest in solidarity with the Palestinians. This was a lie. Miss Morocco pulled out because she had badly sprained her ankle, and would not have been able to walk in stately fashion on the stage. She posted her announcement, with a video showed her lying on a hospital gurney with her ankle and lower leg tightly bound, and the doctor who treated her standing by her side. There is no reason to think she was lying, and in fact, it would have made little sense for her to boycott Israel, given that her own country, Morocco, is a member of the Abraham Accords, has just signed an agreement about buying arms from Israel, and is doing its level best to draw closer to the Jewish state.
Even though Miss Morocco made clear the reason for her withdrawal, Israel-haters continue to intimate that she did so out of her supposed desire to not “‘legitimize” Israel. This is a malignant figment of their perfervid imaginations.
Then there is the months-long campaign by the group Africa4Palestine, in an attempt to pressure and harass Miss South Africa, Lalela Mswane, until she agrees to pull out of the Miss Universe contest. She has managed to block on social media some particularly insistent Israel-haters. And she remains committed to going to Eilat. That has not prevented the BDS group Africa4Palestine (AFP) from announcing that she has indeed withdrawn from the competition because of her (non-existent) antipathy to Israel.
Here is the excited announcement by Africa4Palestine:
Breaking news! Miss SA withdrawing from Israel hosted Miss Universe !
PRESS STATEMENT: Miss South Africa to withdraw from Miss Universe
09 November 2021
The human rights organization #Africa4Palestine welcomes the news that Miss Lalela Mswane, current Miss South Africa, is withdrawing [sic] participation from this year’s controversial Israeli-hosted Miss Universe pageant.
We eagerly await the formal announcement and hope that Miss South Africa [sic] withdrawing sets an example to other contestants who may be afraid to publicly stand up for human rights. Miss South Africa will now join a growing list of participants who have withdrawn from the upcoming Israeli pageant including Miss Malaysia, Miss Greece, Miss Laos and Miss Indonesia who are all not attending this year’s Miss Universe taking place in Apartheid Israel.
We have received information of Mswane’s withdrawal following the national outcry and public calls from South Africans, including Nelson Mandela’s grandson, Chief Zwelivelile “Mandla” Mandela (MP), and other notable personalities, for Miss SA to cancel her participation from the Israeli hosted event. Miss South Africa was trending in the country yesterday, but for all the wrong reasons. We are glad that it now seems that sense has prevailed and that Miss South Africa is choosing to be on the right side of history by withdrawing from the Israeli-hosted event.
That was all a lie. Miss South Africa is determined to go to Israel for the contest, and she has never suggested otherwise. In fact, she has managed to block many of her tormentors – those pressuring and harassing her to withdraw — from social media.
As for the other contestants whom Africa4Palestine claims have withdrawn from the Miss Universe contest out of a desire to distance themselves from “apartheid Israel,” these include “Miss Malaysia, Miss Greece, Miss Laos, and Miss Indonesia.” Africa4Palestine hopes you won’t do a little searching on the Internet, because that would allow you to discover that there was no Miss Malaysia, nor Miss Laos, nor Miss Indonesia this year.
If you had searched, you would have been able to discover this:
In a statement, the Miss Universe Malaysia Organization (MUMO) announced that it will skip the Miss Universe 2021 pageant due to worsening Covid-19 outbreak and travel restrictions related to the pandemic.
Unfortunately, due to the worsening Covid-19 situation which has resulted in limited international and domestic travel, we have been unable to hold our local Miss Universe Malaysia 2021 pageant.
“We have therefore declined the invitation to this year’s pageant and regretfully would not be able to hold a local Miss Universe Malaysia pageant this year,” the MUMO statement read.
Nor was Laos able to hold a Miss Laos contest this year, because of the pandemic:
Miss Universe Laos’ organization, just a few hours ago, released an official statement that Laos will not send their representative to Miss Universe 2021. The statement released on Miss Universe Laos’ official social media account cited the COVID-19, Delta virus pandemic as its main reason, saying the global health crisis resulted in limitations on international flights and difficulties in securing visas. Organizers added that they were not able to hold the national Miss Universe Laos pageant because of the situation.
Miss Indonesia will not be going to Eilat, either, nor contestants from Barbados, Belize, Russia, and Uruguay, all of whom cited travel restrictions and other issues relating to the pandemic.
But only one supposed contestant has said she has withdrawn from the contest so as not to be seen as endorsing Israel. That person, Rafaela Plastira, falsely described herself as “Miss Greece”; the real Miss Greece, Sofia Arapogianni, will be going to Eilat, eager to take part in the Miss Universe competition.
Africa4Palestine will no doubt be enraged to learn that the United Arab Emirates, a country that is both Arab and Muslim, is sending a contestant to Eilat. So, despite its hostility to Israel, is Turkey. So are another half-dozen Muslim lands.
The lies of the Palestine Solidarity Alliance and Africa4Palestine are now on display before the whole world. Lalela Mswane blocked her Africa4Palestine harassers on social media. And she is preparing, enthusiastically, for taking part in the Miss Universe contest that awaits her in Eilat in mid-December.
There will be contestants from at least 78 countries in Eilat. Not a single legitimate contestant – that leaves out the bizarre Rafaela Plastira – will be staying away because of anti-Israel animus.
And now, with the Israel-haters having gotten their knickers in a twist to no avail, may those 78 winsome girls strut their stuff on stage in sunny Eilat — let the dames begin!
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