Miss Universe Says Pageant In Israel Shouldn’t Be Politicized Amid Boycott Pressure

Published 2 years ago
The 69th Miss Universe Competition
(Photo by Rodrigo Varela/Getty Images)


The reigning winner of the Miss Universe beauty pageant, Andrea Meza, said Wednesday the next edition of the competition set to be held in Israel shouldn’t be politicized, amid pressure for contestants to set aside their hopes for the crown and boycott the event in solidarity with Palestinians.


Meza, a 27-year-old who represents Mexico, told the Associated Press she wouldn’t fault women who boycotted this year’s pageant, but said she had no problem with it being held in Israel, stating that “it’s just about embracing other women.”

Palestinian activist groups like PACBI, a founding member of the movement for a cultural and academic boycott on Israel, called on contestants to “do no harm to our struggle for freedom, justice and equality by withdrawing from the pageant.”


Meza will hand over the crown in December when the 70th Miss Universe pageant takes place in Eilat, Israel.


The South African government withdrew its support for Miss South Africa on Monday after the local pageant organizer and the most recent winner, Lalela Mswane, refused to pull out of the competition earlier this week. Malaysia announced it would not send a representative due to Covid-19, but the country has been a supporter of Palestinian rights, the AP reports.


Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, said Israel has been in contention as a host country “due to its rich history, beautiful landscapes, myriad of cultures and appeal as a global tourist destination.” The BDS movement, which promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions of Israel, has had mixed results in recent years, with some singers like Lorde and Lana Del Rey cancelling shows in the country, while Irish author Sally Rooney declined to have her most recent book translated into Hebrew until she found a publisher complaint with BDS’ “institutional boycott guidelines.” 


In Israel, Miss Universe says pageant no place for politics (The Associated Press)