Polish officials on Saturday extended an invitation to Israel’s Eurovision representative Noa Kirel to visit the country following her “painful” remarks about the Holocaust which stirred unease in Warsaw.
In a post-performance interview after last Saturday’s final, the singer said that receiving full marks from Poland "after almost the entire Kirel family was murdered in the Holocaust, is a victory." She made similar comments in an interview with Ynet.
Polish media and social media picked up the quote and the discourse surrounding the issue also prompted a response from Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister Paweł Jabłoński who tweeted that Kirel will be invited for an official visit to the country.
“The fact that many people in Israel consider Poland to be an accomplice to German crimes - and not their victim - is often the result not so much of bad will as lack of knowledge and incomplete education,” Jabłoński tweeted.
The Polish diplomat highlighted the focus on the Holocaust during organized trips from Israeli schools to Poland as one of the reasons behind this.
“We are starting a long process that will certainly not produce results immediately - but at the same time I am sure that in the long run it will allow us to build good Polish-Israeli relations, based on truth and mutual understanding that both our nations were victims of German crimes,” he added.
“The longer and more effectively we work on it, the less there will be bad stereotypes or untrue and painful statements for millions of people in Poland, such as the one by @noakirel.”
He concluded by extending an invitation to Kirel to learn about the Holocaust from the Polish perspective.
“[T]he invitation will be sent from @MSZ_RP in the coming week - first of all, to understand why she thinks about our homeland in such a way, to explain why it is painful for us and why we do not agree to it, to talk about the common history of our nations - and for her to see with her own eyes the places in which Nazi Germany committed cruel crimes against Poles and Jews in our country”.
Earlier, Polish lawmaker Anna-Maria Żukowska also took to Twitter to air her frustration with Kirel’s statements.
“Does this statement reflect the level of Holocaust education in Israel? Do young people in Israel think that the Holocaust was caused by Poland, over which a young Israeli citizen can achieve a moral victory after many years, or what?” she wrote.
An article titled "Scandal at Eurovision" was published on the Polish website Do Rzeczy, stating that Kirel's remarks insinuated that Poland is responsible for the Holocaust. Polish website Natemat similarly dubbed her statement about Poland as “preposterous”.