The intense animosity between Israel and its Arab neighbors was put into sharp relief last week when a simple selfie at a beauty pageant triggered a full fledged criminal investigation. Miss Israel Doron Matalon (first from left) snapped a selfie at the pageant and posted it. Someone noticed that the smiling contestant next to her was Saly Griege, this year’s Miss Lebanon (second from left). The reaction was seismic and sad. It appears that fraternization, like beauty, remains in the eye of the beholder.
People around the Muslim world reacted in outrage that Griege would associate with an Israeli, even as part of an international competition. Lebanon bans its citizens from fraternizing with Israelis and Griege has been put under investigation. In 1993, the government actually disqualified its Miss Universe contestants for being shown arm-in-arm with her Israeli contestant.
Griege has responded by denouncing Matalon and saying that she was effectively set up. She posted a statement that “I was very cautious to avoid being in any photo or communication with Miss Israel (that tried several times to have a photo with me) … I was having a photo with Miss Japan, Miss Slovenia and myself; suddenly Miss Israel jumped in, took a selfie, and put it on her social media.”
She does not appear particularly surprised in the photo. Indeed, the photo shows contestants enjoying what should be a moment of civility and celebration in making it to the event. She may have been surprised by the picture, though some have said that she was clearly interacting with Matalon. In my view, she was likely being polite and being a proper cultural ambassador for her country in the moment of fun. The very notion that this picture could be a criminal act shows how hatred can mutate into officially sanctioned blind rage.
For her part, Matalon said that the hoopla simply left her “sad” and added that it is “Too bad you can not put the hostility out of the game, only for three weeks of an experience of a lifetime that we can meet girls from around the world and also from the neighbouring [sic] country.”
It sounds like the law is unlikely to result in an actual criminal sanction as opposed to a disqualification if Griege is found guilty. That is still a ridiculous penalty for a selfie.
44 thoughts on “Beauty in the Eye of the Beholder? Lebanese Beauty Pageant Contestant Put Under Investigation After Appearing In A Selfie With The Israeli Contestant”
DARREN- KINDLY STOP DELETING MY COMMENTS, i noticed that you blocked the one where I quoted someone saying that asset forefiture laws turn cops into robbers.
I thought cops are supposed to be thick-skinned and don’t feel their ego is threatened by comments on the Internet. I realize you don’t claim to be a big free speech advocate, but d***, what is a cop doing guarding the gate on a
relatively centristic blog?
Bill McWilliams – did the comment actually post or did it disappear immediately. If it posted and then disappeared it might be JT, not Darren. If it never posted, then it is WordPress.
Dan, lights out, no way! Lights on and cameras rolling. Could be turned into a movie people would pay to watch! Then there would have to be a rematch. Add in a Black Friday sale and the action would be irresistible.
This could be resolved in an amicable fashion. A blanket and pillow fight in my bedroom with lights out. Bed springs are ok when last checked. I’m betting on blonde. Winner takes all!
Darren, being in possession of a bag of cocaine shouldn’t be a crime, either. But that’s another issue. Snapping a photo knowing it would have a negative effect on another contestant falls into the category of “dirty tricks,” far from what should be considered a crime. The photo itself is innocent enough, similar to millions of other selfies shot by anyone who owns a cellphone camera today. It’s the fact that some government, based upon a religious hatred, can make it a crime to fraternize with someone else of a particular religion or nationality is the real crime here. That’s where the blame needs to be placed, not on the girl who took the photo OR the girl who got captured in the shot.
Another example of unreasonable, even outrageous, reactions from those of an Islamic religion toward those of another faith, Judaism, in this case. How can anyone wonder why people of any religion, or none, are appalled at this type of behavior? Banning citizens from fraternizing? Really?! Being skeptical or even outright afraid of people like this should be expected even if it is politically incorrect today to say so. That’s just crazy.
Is that Aviva Drescher in the middle of that shot?
I am completely unsurprised.
I remember hearing, decades ago, how Meet the Press and the other Sunday morning shows had to be certain any any Israeli guests were NOT IN THE BUILDING at the same time as their Arab guests.
After teaching their children that Jews are devils or whatever, they are afraid that actual interactions may lead to friendships — and heaven forbid, peace. Didn’t Hamas recently turn back a bus of children going to visit Israel for that very reason?
Dan, LOL!! Hitler would have that blonde pushing out Aryan babies every year!
The intense animosity between Israel and its Arab neighbors…
This is a bit of classic crimestop.
The truthful version of this sentence is: “The intense hatred of Israel by its Arab neighbors.” That’s the circumspect version. The more inclusive version extends the observation to “people around the Muslim world.” But only the untrue Muslims who “reacted in outrage,” of course.
Let’s play Reverse the Actors…Suppose that any contestant from any of Israel’s “Arab neighbors” took a selfie w/ Miss Israel–oh hell, let her give her a big, wet kiss on the mouth–and ask how much outrage there would’ve been among “people around the Jewish world.”
Stop tiptoeing around the obvious truth. This isn’t about an aversion to selfies.
Sewing machines for all damnations are working overtime to cover identity patch possibilities. Outsourced job to China for cost cutting measures and expedited efficiencies.
Patches are easier to see. You might say, wear them like a badge.
Question. Who is blonde with the cup? I don’t see a ring on her finger either!
Good Grief…when this issue is international news, let alone a government endeavor in Lebanon, my very first question: What are the powers that be trying to distract the rest of us from?
Seriously? A bunch of pretty women can be “investigated” for a political faux pas? One defined by others who are likely uglier than the south end of a north bound sow? Please. Just, please…if there is a deity anywhere…why?
Dan, Hitler would agree.
Anti-Semitic laws meet Beauty Contests. Is this The Onion???
How to solve identity problem. Jews should wear King David star patch, Muslims wear Mohammad patch and Asians wear Buddha patch. See, problem solved!
Dan – but …. but … but … my Asian wife is Baptist.
There used to be a Miss Congeniality prize and maybe Miss Israel was trying to get it by having the most selfies. I guess Miss Lebenon could defect to the United States for asylum.
“Surely it would be known to her of the handicap Miss Lebanon faced ”
What evidence is there of that? Evading prior photos is not sufficient.
Perhaps Miss Israel did not know that Miss Lebanon faced a demand forbidding fraternization.
More to the point, this is in an international beauty competition.
Why should everyone kowtow to the Muslims?
Actually, I don’t see great enthusiasm for this selfie in Miss Lebanon’s expression and I see what appears to be more of a courtesy smile or that she was in the process of transitioning from a smiling expression to that of a neutral one.
I tend to believe what Miss Lebanon is saying. My gut feeling is that Miss Israel was trying to pick off one of her competitors. Surely it would be known to her of the handicap Miss Lebanon faced in the fraternization issue, especially showing how Miss Israel tried several times before to accomplish the same thing. So I believe Miss Israel had ill intent in what she did.
As bad as this might sound I suspect this is the case. Again, I am not condoning these ridiculous demands levied against Miss Lebanon by her government but given the fact she has no control over the matter means that she must adhere to those rules looming over her.
In my view this is analogous to throwing a bag of cocaine into her purse just so that she will be disqualified when the security team checks her bags.
Pow! The “Religion of Peace” strikes again. The whole world is finally becoming aware of what comes from teaching hate for two generations. As for any reference to “Arab Moderates”, “Moderate Muslims”, etc., forget about the moderates. Where are the “Arab Liberals”, “Liberal Muslims”, etc.?? Oh, they don’t seem to exist.
There are no moderates in Lebanon. Every time I hear that our government is talking to the moderates In the Middle East I think of things like this. Until we face facts we will continue to make huge policy mistakes.
Poor Miss Lebanon must be scared for her life. If I were this young lady I would ask for asylum now.
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