I am not an expert on Jewish matters, indeed, I am not an expert on any matter concerning Judaism, but merely doff hat to those who possess much wisdom and knowledge on this matter.
A calling card that says - “Expert on Jewish matters” -, when the person in question has no instruction on the matter deceives the reader most undeservedly. It is not enough just to be Jewish to introduce yourself as an expert on this matter.
I am a journalist. My main activity, the meal ticket that puts food on my table, comes from writing. I had good writing teachers. People who know words and other people inside out. They know about freedom and values, without which no news could leave the printing press.
Antisemitism is a battlefield. Purim and Hanukkah should know: Haman wanted to kill Jews; Antiochus wanted to kill Judaism.
Antisemitism is a sad reality that is older than time; it should not be handled with biased caution. Portugal is not immune to this horror. That is the thing. You have only to see the comments regarding articles in which Jews, Judaism or Israel are at the core. You have only to read columnists brandishing an antisemitic lens or journalists who only see one angle. Forgive my forthrightness, you have only to consider the idea of money that is always attached to Jews.
Daniel Litvak, the rabbi of the Jewish Community of Oporto, had his wrists handcuffed at Francisco Sá Carneiro Airport on Thursday, 11 March. It was believed that he was fleeing the country. With suitcases packed with everything but clothes. Millions. A fortune. The rabbi was fleeing to Israel via Germany, with millions inside his suitcases. The home of the Vice-President of the Jewish Community of Oporto was searched with a fine-tooth comb with the aim of finding bags belonging to Russian oligarchs. Money. Nor was the synagogue immune from the searches. The aim was the same: vile metal. Banknotes. Hundreds of banknotes.
From what I have learned, anonymous denunciations were made in sufficient number to enable this operation to be mounted. We all know what comes next, something that makes the antisemites slobber: the intense exposure of people linked to the community: the rabbi, the President, the Vice-President, the museologist and friends of the Community. Such as me.
Anonymous denunciations, nameless, faceless denunciations, devoid of character, such as those that in the 1930s destroyed the honour of Captain Barros Basto, founder of the Jewish Community of Oporto and its Vice-President’s grandfather. History repeats itself. It is our duty to enact actions in response to antisemitism. That is the noun: antisemitism.
Hatred of the Jews is deeply rooted in Europe. The image of the Jew as the killer of Jesus leads to hatred and suspicion. From the Inquisition to Nazi Germany, the path of the vultures was made easier. We should not quake, nor should we soften or attribute metaphorical speeches marked with symbolism, which in this case are as important as a fur coat in the desert at noon.
Those millions of euros or dollars failed to materialise. Rabbi Lidvak has still not regained his passport. Having certified millionaires such as Patrick Drahi and Roman Abramovich, the once historic nationality law was jeopardised. And it died. Painfully. Very painfully.
Some pillars do not fall. Activities at Mekor Haim Synagogue continue in full swing. It is full. Minyan by the dozen for eight consecutive years. Young people. A kosher restaurant. Tourists. A Jewish Museum. Films. A cinema. Tzedakah for the whole world. Queues to get into the Holocaust Museum.
Although history and the truth do not always go hand in hand, there comes a moment when the page turns and you find out what really happened. That is the moment with meaning, not the one told by idiots and fake “experts on Jewish matters".