Polish soccer association celebrates victory over Israeli team as a ‘pogrom’
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Polish soccer association celebrates victory over Israeli team as a ‘pogrom’

With relations between countries fraying, federation uses loaded term associated with anti-Semitic massacres to describe 4-0 drubbing

Poland's Krzysztof Piatek celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Euro 2020 group G qualifying soccer match between Poland and Israel at the Narodowy stadium in Warsaw, Poland, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Poland's Krzysztof Piatek celebrates with teammates after scoring his side's opening goal during the Euro 2020 group G qualifying soccer match between Poland and Israel at the Narodowy stadium in Warsaw, Poland, June 10, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

JTA — On its official Facebook page, the Polish soccer association on Tuesday described its team’s victory over Israel as a “pogrom.”

The loaded term, harking back to centuries of massacres perpetrated against Jews in Poland and throughout Europe, appeared on the Facebook page of the Polish Football Association, or PZPN, at the end of a Euro Qualifiers game in which Poland walloped Israel 4:0.

“This is a pogrom! Winning over Israel 4:0!” the update at the end of the match read.

In English-language media, the word pogrom, which began appearing in Russian in the late 19th century, is closely associated with anti-Semitic violence.

However, in Poland and elsewhere, it is often used to describe also other forms of bloodshed, including the so-called Galician Slaughter, or uprising of 1846. In it, Polish peasants killed hundreds of non-Jewish noblemen.

That violent episode is characterized as a pogrom in the Polish Szkolnictwo learning portal, among other resources.

Relations between Poland and Israel have suffered since the introduction of a law in Poland last year making it illegal to blame the Polish nation for Nazi crimes. It triggered a crisis with Israel, which argued it limits research and free speech about the Holocaust.

The dispute has escalated to include acrimonious exchanges between the highest levels of leadership of both countries, including over restitution of property stolen from Polish Jews during and after the genocide.

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