A Jewish organization in Brazil said it will launch a criminal investigation against the head of a major Brazilian political party after he promoted an anti-Semitic blood libel on social media.

“Baal, Satanic deity, Canaanites and Jews sacrificed children to receive their sympathy. Today, history repeats itself,” Brazilian Labor Party (PTB) national president Roberto Jefferson reportedly wrote on Friday in an Instagram post, which the social-media platform has since removed.

PTB is a supporter of right-wing president Jair Bolsonaro and holds 12 seats out of 513 in Brazil’s lower parliamentary Chamber of Deputies.

On Saturday, the Jewish Confederation of Brazil (CONIB) called Jefferson’s Instagram post “one of the vilest ways to attack Jews.”

“The post characterizes a crime of racism, with an increase in penalty for the fact that it was practiced through a social network,” CONIB wrote in a statement on Instagram. “All evidence of the offense and the comments of followers, which can also be characterized as a crime, have been preserved for criminal investigation.”

“Any crime of racism is disgusting and must be punished with the utmost rigor of the law,” added the statement. “History has already shown us, in the harshest and most barbaric way, how racism and hate speech are responsible for humanity’s most terrible episodes.”

Jonathan Greenblatt, national director and CEO of the Anti-Defamation League, called Jefferson’s comments “a truly grotesque display of hate.”

The American Jewish Committee also responded, saying, “The blood libel is a centuries-old anti-Semitic hoax and is still used to persecute Jews. It has no place anywhere in society.”


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