Inauguration of a new room dedicated to anti-Semitism in Portugal at the Jewish Museum of Porto

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A new room at Porto Jewish Museum presents the timeline of antisemitism in Portugal from 2015 to 2022. It also exhibits statues representing modern antisemites, incorporating their ideas, publications and other forms of expression.

The exposition begins with a study by the Anti-Defamation League in 2014, which concluded that there were at least 1.8 million people in Portuguese with anti-Semitic sentiments.

However, at that time, there were no anti-Semitic offenses in the country because nothing justified them: the national Jewish community, which then numbered some 600 people, was practically invisible.

However, following the 2015 Portuguese legislation favoring the return of Sephardic Jews, the Jewish community has grown considerably. This was immediately followed by an exponential growth in anti-Semitism.

For starters, there were a number of negative online posts and malicious shares that were very aggressive against “Jews” as a religious and social group, such as “This is the worst race on earth”, “this are foreigners”, “they want to divide the Portuguese”, “go to Israel!

Porto’s Jewish community informed the Portuguese government of the rise in anti-Semitism and added that if nothing was done, sooner or later Portuguese Jews would be subjected to violence from the few but angry anti-Semites. The community has expressed its willingness to contribute to the development of a national strategy to combat anti-Semitism and protect Portuguese Jewish communities.

The Jewish Community of Porto has created an Observatory of Antisemitism to observe and monitor antisemitism in Portuguese territory in real time, choose ways to reduce or eliminate prejudice against Jews and Jewish communities, write opinions information and action reports, where appropriate, by the competent supervisory authorities, and raise awareness among political parties of the need to improve existing legislation and promote appropriate school curricula.

The community inaugurated the Jewish Museum of Porto to create the image of an open religious community. However, the Public Security Police (PSP) objected to the installation of a policeman in the museum, as, in their view, there was no security risk. For security reasons, the Jewish Community of Porto has decided not to open the Jewish Museum to the general public. It exclusively serves the Portuguese and international Jewish community, schools and teachers.

A group belonging to the German anti-fascist “Anti Faschistishche Aktion” stuck their organization’s stickers on the Porto synagogue, linking it to fascism. The group is also suspected of preparing to vandalize the city’s Holocaust museum. Indeed, some of its members were identified inside the museum the day before the action against the synagogue.

The construction of the Chabad Center in Cascais and the Alfama Jewish Museum in Lisbon have faced opposition from some outspoken residents. It was claimed that the new constructions would break with the tradition of the neighborhoods. Meanwhile, in Porto, there have been many individual cases of anti-Semitism, fortunately without physical violence. The facade of a Jewish family’s house has been vandalized with red paint, including the mezuzah. The head of this family had complained at his daughter’s school that a young boy had complained because “Jews kill children in Palestine”.

The state neither prevents nor punishes the propagation of those stereotypes which in the past led to the genocide of the world Jewish population and, at present, jeopardize the respectability and safety of Jews in general and Jewish communities, which must further support and pay for the protection of members, properties, synagogues, museums and cemeteries.

In 2020, a group of influential people in Portugal attempted to end the nationality law provisions for Portuguese Sephardic Jews through a smear campaign against Jewish communities involved in the certification process. Without being able to single out a single misjudged case and ignoring all the positive effects of the law, these people are spreading hate on social media, using their fellow journalists, media workers, columnists and professional slanderers to launch the worst stereotypes against Jewish communities. .

In 2022, people within the Portuguese state apparatus used journalists, influencers, anonymous accusers, anonymous sources, and the police to end Sephardic law and bring down leaders of the Jewish community of Porto, the strongest in Portugal.

No one has escaped this kind of “purification” in the manner of the inquisition. From religious leaders to lay leaders – presidents, ex-presidents, vice-presidents, treasurers, members and secretaries, without forgetting the museologist and the doorman – and many other victims, minutes have been seized, along with documents confidential information and communications between the Jewish community of Porto and hundreds of Jewish organizations.

The new room presents an explanation of the genesis of the current criminal proceedings and soon there will also be a very lit showcase containing all the charges that led to these proceedings and photographs of all the characters who made, disseminated and profited from these charges. for malicious purposes.

The Jewish Museum of Porto was inaugurated in 2019. In his address at the opening ceremony of the museum, the President of B’nai B’rith International said: “This Jewish Museum will punctuate the awakening of Jewish life in Portugal and should serve as a beacon of light for the rest of Europe, a land now darkened by the resurgence of anti-Semitism.

Before World War II, about 9.5 million Jews lived in Europe. Today, the Jewish population of the EU is estimated at 1.5 million people. In recent years, the Jewish population in the EU has declined, particularly for security reasons, as well as due to the perceived lack of resolve of some governments to fight anti-Semitism.

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