1. In the context of the game led by state agents who, since March 2020, have been trying to destroy the law that grants citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews, now they found yet another case of "corruption", which they shared through the television, newspapers and social networks. The case: Nethaniel Drew.
A convenient set of news was published with the usual attacks against the Jewish Community of Oporto. Mention is made of “criticism on social media” concerning yet another case of the “sale” of Portuguese passports, of a law that has become a “passport shop” at the hands of a community that “negotiated” Sephardic processes, preceded by an allegedly large sum of money in order to grant nationality to one individual - Nathaniel Drew - "with no Portuguese ancestors in the last 20 generations” and who “did not practice the Jewish faith according to Sephardic rites”, as allegedly required by the Community.
2. What the news actually says is the following:
“An influencer made a donation to the Jewish Community of Oporto which, prior to the rabbi’s arrest by the PJ (the criminal police), negotiated the procedures required to prove the Sephardic background of foreign citizens.
This YouTuber is supposed to have made a donation to the Jewish Community of Oporto, which helped him with the process and even suggested a lawyer who helped him prove his Sephardic descent. In the video, Nathaniel Drew explains that he has no Portuguese ancestors “in the last 20 generations, at least”. In spite of this, he was able to prove his Sephardic descent on his father’s side.
The story of this American YouTuber is raising innumerable criticisms on social media, which mention yet another case of the “sale” of Portuguese passports in the light of the nationality law.
João Paulo Batalha, former head of the association Transparency International Portugal, says that this case, “once again shows how the law to make historical reparations to the Sephardim is in fact a ‘passport shop’”.
This consultant operating in the fight against corruption considers that “what the video shows actually goes against the criteria that the Jewish Community of Oporto said it used in the processes”. João Paulo Batalha explains that “among other things, the Community required that applicants not only have a connection to an ancestral community, but that they should continue to practice Judaism according to Sephardic rites”. In the video, Nathaniel Drew explains that he is not religious, does not speak the dialect and has no cultural ties to the Sephardim”.
3. So far, this is entertainment.
Let us now look at the facts.
4. Below are the elements of proof that enabled Nathaniel Drew (De Pas) to receive a certification:
- Cemetery records.
- Known genealogy.
- Last names.
- Nathaniel’s grandmother, Liliana De Pas, born 10 August 1942, belonged to a traditional family of Portuguese and Spanish origin, that lived in Egypt.
- Liliana’s father, Yakov de Paz, was born in Egypt on 5 September 1917.
- Yakov was the son of David De Paz, born in Turkey in the 19th century, who had moved to Egypt.
- The last name De Pas, Pas or Paz was common in North Africa among descendants of those deported from Portugal and Spain. It appears not only in the Egyptian Sephardic community but also in the communities of Libya and Tunisia, as per the lists of the CIP/CJP which it used as working materials.
- The last name De Pas is found on the lists of ketubot (marriage contracts) of the Portuguese Jewish Community of Tunis, also as per lists in the hands of the CIP/CJP.
- The name Paz (Pas) is one of the last names condemned by the Portuguese Inquisition, as per the lists that the CIP/CJP used to use to carry out its work.
- The Iberian Sephardic nature of Liliana’s family was also guaranteed by a certificate from rav Baruch Garzon, former Chief Rabbi of Madrid, which the applicant Nathaniel Drew attached to his identification and genealogical documents and cemetery records.
5. The applicant was duly approved by the Oporto rabbinate, paid his fee of €250,00 and began the proceedings to obtain Portuguese nationality at the Registry Office, supervised by his lawyer, an Israeli who initially submitted the case to the CIP/CJP.
6. Today, the applicant is Portuguese, for the law does not require him to live in Portugal, speak Portuguese or practice Sephardic rites.
7. Aggressions of this nature against the Jewish Community of Oporto began in early 2020, when a group of politicians, journalists and influencers decided to destroy the right to Portuguese nationality for Jews of Sephardic origin.
At that time, Blaise Baquiche, descended from Jews of Egyptian origin, was used to blacken the Jewish Community of Oporto, for allegedly not being a Jew of Sephardic origin. He made a public explanation and informed that his family was Sephardic on all sides and members of the Jewish Community of Oporto since the 1960s. Indeed, one relative – Henry Tillo -, had even been President of Oporto Industrial Association, had created Exponor and was a close friend of mayors Rui Moreira and Rui Rio and other prominent Oporto citizens.
8. In 2022, another descendant of Egyptian Sephardic Jews, in this case Nathaniel Drew, was used against this same Community.
9. Both Blaise Baquiche and Nathaniel Drew are the sons of Sephardic Jewish parents, considered as full Jews under the terms of the liberal tendencies of Judaism, the State of Israel and also the Jewish Community of Oporto. This Community never wished to see itself be accused for merely defending Jewish orthodoxy as regards Sephardic Jews’ right to Portuguese nationality. The argument of “religious belief” is still brandished by all those who have failed to understand that being Jewish is a matter of genealogy.
10. The Sephardic law is not a “passport shop”. However, this new expression will be put to good use in the Jewish Museum of Oporto, to be viewed by children and tourists.