Noa Kirel responds at MTV awards to Kanye West’s Antisemitic comment

November 13, 2022

Israeli pop star Noa Kirel, 2016. Photograph by Daniel Elster. Via Wikimedia Commons.

Israeli pop star Noa Kirel represented Israel at the 017 MTV Europe Music Awards and was chosen in 2021 to represent Israel at the 2023 Eurovision Song Contest. In November 2022, she responded to Kanye West’s anti-Semitic comments at the MTV music awards. 

Kirel was born in 2000 in Ra’anana, Israel, as the youngest of three children. In 2020 she enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces, where she served in the military band. Her singing career began in 2015, when she released her first song on YouTube called “Medabrim?” After this song’s success, she continued to release many hit songs in Israel and collaborated with a variety of famous artists, writers, and producers within the Israeli music industry. At the same time, she was occasionally involved in television productions, both on the Israeli children’s channel and various reality and competition shows as a judge. In 2017 she represented Israel at the "MTV Europe Music Awards” in the "International Artist" category. In 2020 she signed a music contract with the American music label Atlantic Records.  

On November 13, 2022, Kirel attended the MTV music awards sporting an outfit decorated with multiple photographs of Kanye West’s face and draped with many golden chains ornamented with Stars of David, conceptualized in collaboration with Israeli designer Itai Bezaleli. Her appearance was a direct response to the increase in antisemitic incidents, particularly in the United States, spurred by West’s anti-Semitic comments the previous month. In an interview, Kirel stated that “I knew I had to have something that will be powerful on the red carpet. I really wanted it to be a message and not just a regular outfit. And it takes some nerves, but I think the message was received.” Kirel felt responsibility as the representative of Israel at the MTV awards to make a grander statement about being a proud Jewish woman. When asked if this statement was a direct rebuttal to West’s messaging, she responded that it was, adding, “I mean, he said some bad stuff, and as a woman, as a young artist and as a Jew, I just had to react.” 

In 2021 Kirel was chosen by the Israeli Public Broadcasting Corporation (KAN) to represent Israel at the Eurovision Song Contest 2023. She explains that the choice ultimately signifies the same pride she holds for her Jewish heritage and Israeli upbringing, being unafraid to broadcast that message to the world.  

 

Sources: 

Halperin, Shirley. “Israeli Pop Star Noa Kirel Gives Kanye West the Finger With Provocative MTV EMAs Outfit.” Variety, November 14, 2022. https://variety.com/2022/music/global/israeli-singer-kanye-west-outfit-antisemitism-noa-kirel-mtv-emas-1235432328/  

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Jewish Women's Archive. "Noa Kirel responds at MTV awards to Kanye West’s Antisemitic comment ." (Viewed on April 15, 2024) <http://jwa.org/thisweek/nov/13/2022/noa-kirel-responds-mtv-awards-kanye-wests-anti-semitic-comment>.