Like many nations around the globe, Portugal has seen an uptick in hatred directed against Jews since the Oct. 7 Hamas attacks in Israel. What the country has failed to see, according to Israel’s Ambassador to Portugal Dor Shapira and B’nai B’rith Portugal, is political leaders speaking out in response.
“We continue to receive messages of fear at the embassy from Israelis and Jewish students from all over Portugal,” said Shapira. “This is all antisemitism. It should be inconceivable to see an increase in antisemitism in various forms and not have a clear and loud voice, from left to right, amongst the leadership, openly condemning it.”
Gabriela Cantergi, president of B’nai Brith Portugal, declared that “it is not acceptable for party leaders from all political persuasions to have remained completely silent in the face of hate. Some might see in this loud silence a green light to further attack Jews, which could lead to violence and casualties.”
Recent incidents in Portugal include vandalism at both the Porto Synagogue and the Jewish Cultural Center in Lisbon. Businesses and universities linked to Israel have also been targeted. One publication, Esquerda.net, went so far as to publish a list of Israeli-Jewish businessmen in the country.
Cantergi called for “a complete condemnation by all leading parties in Portugal and concrete action taken by the legal and law-enforcement agencies against those who spread hate and those who reinforced them in the media.”