Dave Chappelle calls out Gaza 'genocide' and anti-Semitism at Abu Dhabi gig

US comedian cheered as he speaks of plight of Palestinians

Comedian Dave Chappelle spoke out during his show in Abu Dhabi. Photo: Abu Dhabi Comedy Week
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Dave Chappelle described the war in Gaza as "genocide" to cheers from a packed audience in Abu Dhabi on Thursday night.

The US comedian also urged Americans to fight anti-Semitism in all forms so that Jews do not feel the Israeli state is their sole protector.

“What is happening in Gaza is a direct result of anti-Semitism in the West,” he said.

“If you are in America, the best thing you can do is to make American-Jews feel safe, feel loved and supported so they can know they don't have to support a country that is committing genocide just to feel safe.”

The 50-year-old performed to a sold-out Etihad Arena on Thursday as part of Abu Dhabi Comedy Week.

Chappelle, a Muslim, spoke on a subject that deeply divides the United States, Israel's strongest ally - at a time when the biggest actors and performers are under pressure to state their views on the eight-month conflict.

Chappelle also spoke of the forthcoming US presidential election in November, describing Donald Trump’s branding of Joe Biden as “sleepy Joe” as politically devastating.

“We got a big election coming up and I don't know how it's going to end,” he said. “I don't know much about politics and I don't like talking about it, but I do know that if Donald J Trump gives you a nickname in American politics then you are finished.”

He voted for Biden in 2020, but Chappelle says the rematch this year presents a starker choice.

It is one he describes as a choice between living in the kind of illiberal world favoured by Trump’s fervent supporters and one filled with the equally chafing political correctness espoused by sections of Biden's Democratic party.

The best decision, he advises the UAE’s American community, is to enjoy the safety and social stability that their new homeland provides.

Chappelle stated that has he never felt as safe as during his visits to the UAE and promised to return for further shows. Walking off the stage to a standing ovation, he said “God bless the UAE, God bless Gaza and God bless the world.”

Abu Dhabi Comedy Week continues at Etihad Arena until Sunday.

Updated: May 24, 2024, 2:12 PM