Comedian Dave Chappelle accused Israel of committing genocide in Gaza during a stand-up show in the Middle East. 

The comic, 50, had been performing in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, when he made the remarks. 

Chappelle, who is a Muslim, told the crowd that he believes Jewish people support Israel because of a rise in anti-Semitism. 

He said the Gaza Strip faces a ‘genocide’, and that by making Jews safer in America would make them realize they didn’t need Israel as an ultimate protector. 

According to Middle Eastern outlet The National, he told the sold-out crowd: ‘What is happening in Gaza is a direct result of antisemitism in the West.

‘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.’

Chappelle performs at Madison Square Garden during his 50th birthday celebration week on Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023, in New York

Before coming on stage, the crowd cheered as DJ Trauma, who accompanied Chappelle on the trip, played the song ‘My Blood is Palestinian’ by the Palestinian singer Mohammed Assaf. 

The thousands there agreed to place their switched-off mobile phones in locked pouches for the performance – a standard feature of Chappelle’s shows.

About halfway through in a wide-ranging comedy set, Chappelle initially said he had been told by his friends either to discuss the war or not. 

From the audience, a woman screamed: ‘Free Palestine!’, which caused the crowd cheered.

One moment also displayed just how diverse the crowd was in the Abu Dhabi. In telling another joke about how Jews cheer while drinking, Chappelle said ‘l´chaim,’ or ‘to life’ in Hebrew, which another man shouted back from the audience.

When touching on the upcoming U.S. election, Chappelle´s mention of President Joe Biden – who has promised ‘ironclad’ support for Israel – drew widespread boos throughout the arena. Donald Trump drew scattered cheers.

Chappelle, as other artists during the performance, told some racy jokes and swore. But they largely avoided discussing local politics – though Chappelle did make a sly joke about the UAE´s widespread surveillance network and another deadpanning about ‘how difficult is it to be gay’ in the country as homosexuality is illegal.

Displaced Palestinians walk along a devastated street in Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip on May 24, 2024

The wounded are brought to Al-Ahli Baptist Hospital in Gaza City, Gaza after the Israeli army attacked the Al-Nazla school building on May 25, 2024

At the start of his performance he also came out on stage with a falcon on his arm – a symbol for the UAE.

Chappelle’s comments come as Abu Dhabi has maintained its diplomatic relations with Israel even as it has increasingly criticized its conduct in the seven-month war.

Earlier this week, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) demanded the immediate release of all hostages still held by Palestinian militants. 

Hours before, Israeli forces announced that troops had recovered the bodies of three more of the captives from northern Gaza. 

The court had also ordered the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to halt its military operations in the city. 

Israel gave no indication it was preparing to change course in Rafah, insisting that the court had got it wrong and bombed Gaza on Friday night

The ICJ, whose orders are legally binding but lack direct enforcement mechanisms, also instructed Israel to keep open the Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza, which Israeli troops took over earlier this month, effectively shutting it. 

National Security Adviser Tzachi Hanegbi, in a joint statement with the foreign ministry, said ‘Israel has not and will not carry out military operations in the Rafah area that create living conditions that could cause the destruction of the Palestinian civilian population, in whole or in part.’

About halfway through in a wide-ranging comedy set, Chappelle initially said he had been told by his friends either to discuss the war or not

Hamas, the Iran-backed Islamist group that has ruled Gaza since 2007, welcomed the ICJ ruling on Rafah but criticised its decision to exclude the rest of the Palestinian territory from the order.

An Israeli official said on Saturday the government had an ‘intention’ to restart stalled negotiations ‘this week‘.

Chappelle had previously caused a walkout during a show in Boston last year after he slammed Israel for its ‘war crimes’ against Palestinians.

The comedian made the comments after telling the audience that he didn’t think students who were protesting in support of Palestine should lost job offers. 

He went on to make it clear he also condemned the terror attack by Hamas on October 7 but accused the Israeli government of killing innocent civilians

At the end of the show at the TD Garden arena, he argued that two wrongs did not make a right. 

Some in the arena got up and left while others applauded, shouting, ‘Free Palestine.’