The Jewish Community of Porto calls on European Commission to probe antisemitism in Portugal

The Jewish Community of Porto (CIP/CJP) has called on the European Commission to initiate an impartial international investigation into an antisemitic action in Portugal.

The Jewish Community of Porto (CIP/CJP) has called on the European Commission to instigate an impartial international investigation into „an antisemitic action that took place in Portugal using robbers, murderers and convicts who intended to defame the country’s strongest Jewish community, destroy Jewish leadership, halt the influx of Israeli citizens and end the law that granted Portuguese citizenship to Jews of Portuguese origin,” The Jerusalem Post reported the words of Gabriel Senderowicz, the president of the Jewish Community of Porto.

The CJP sent a letter to the European Commission’s coordinator on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life, Katharina von Schnurbein.

„The reasons for the request relate to the need to investigate who ordered the March 2022 police action against the community and who were the ‘robbers, murderers and convicts’ who tried to incriminate Jews from Porto,” Senderowicz said, adding that „there is also a need to safeguard the honour of the Portuguese nation’s distinct figures, who will certainly be the first to be interested in an independent investigation.”

In July 2022, the Portuguese police searched the home of the curator of the Jewish Museum in Porto as well as the offices of several Portuguese lawyers who work with the Jewish community in handling citizenship applications, only a few weeks after the Porto Jewish community submitted its response to the Portuguese parliament regarding the state’s intention to abolish the „Spanish Law,” and accused Portugal of antisemitism and of persecuting Jews.

In the letter sent to the European Commission, Senderowicz explained that a rabbi of a synagogue was arrested on the basis of false accusations of corrupting registry offices that he had never visited. At the same time, the home of the vice president was raided for ‘suitcases of money’; „a construction company of a community collaborator was suspected of issuing certifications of Sephardi origin, and an official statement from the authorities spread the news that the community was also indicted for drug trafficking .”

A community council member for legal affairs, attorney David Garrett, added in a press release on behalf of the Porto Jewish community that the European Commission investigation is necessary: „If the anonymous, slanderous complaints were not made by convicts at the request of state agents; if the attempt to eliminate the first signer of a petition to the parliament was authored by someone who chose his target at random; if there is no relationship between the professional burglars who stole the server from a community lawyer [in Porto] and the computers of the president of SIRESP [in Lisbon] – then everything was nothing more than a miraculous coincidence, and the community should not remain alarmed,” Garrett said.

Garrett added that „if, on the contrary, the investigation concludes that state agents used criminals and all the press against a religious and cultural organisation [the Jewish Community of Porto], then we can say that they wanted mostly to destroy a nascent Jewish elite and that the aim was not merely to initiate proceedings against suspects for the practice of illegalities. Against these, legal means of obtaining evidence would be used, and the police would not be used as an instrument, much less whether they would use burglars, murderers and manufacturers of anonymous complaints.”


Photo credit: Jewish Community of Oporto