"António Santos", an anonymous defamer who has prison waiting for him

The case that led to illegal searches and arrests in Porto's Jewish community as part of an operation known as "Open Door Operation" was based on slanderous anonymous letters. The police and the prosecutor's office know that those complaints came from a convicted defamer who since the beginning of 2022 plays a very active role on social media, using the false name "António Santos". He is now under investigation, along with others, in a process that involves the commission of crimes of criminal association and slanderous accusations that together can result in a prison sentence of up to 10 years.

In 2022, the Jewish Museum in Oporto started to present visitors with a cartoon of a figure who was always present within the Jewish communities of Portugal and the world. The cartoon is part of the museum's curatorial technique, which uses images, drawings and films to show relevant realities in the history of Portuguese Jews. "He existed at all times. He acted in antiquity, in the Middle Ages, and in the Inquisition. He destroyed Captain Barros Basto. He spat on the Jewish community of Oporto in the 21st century. Cowardly, poor and envious, the anonymous slanderer always threw the stone and hid his hand. He benefited from decadent authorities who used wrongdoers and anonymous letters."

Indeed, the history of the Jews in many places was marked by persecutions that were based on slanderous anonymous denunciations. For more than a decade now, the Porto Jewish community blog has been drawing attention to "some of the evils of the world".

"There is a question that is usually answered only by silence. Why are some men ineffective in their lives and others have the blessings of Hashem to create life, culture, influence, and wealth?

What is said below is a part of the answer.

1. Mediocre men are absolutely ineffective in their lives and do nothing to dignify others and to improve the world. Their lives are lost in vanity, speaking evil of others or envying those who are not envious.

2. Jealousy is part of the daily life of the mediocre. Jealousy keeps hate in the heart, wishing that other people are not successful. It is a fact that the mediocre men lack envy only for their children and disciples. (Talmud, St. 105b)

3. The ‘evil eye’ (ain ha-ra) is the name given to negative energy that is created by mediocre men who look at others with envy or bad feelings. It only affects those who care about it. (Pesachim 110 b)

4. Mediocre men have a long tongue. About three quarters of human conflicts come from the spoken or written word. The central saying of Jewish tradition, "Shema Israel", commands us to hear and not to speak.
- Gossip usually involves conversations speaking evil of others (lashon hara). It is forbidden to hear gossip. You must turn your face towards the speaker. (Shaarei Teshuva, s.3.)
- Passing on stories (rechilut) is also considered gossip. The Talmud says that the storyteller lives in the shadow of slander. "You shall not go about retelling stories among your people". (Lev 19:16)
- One who tells disparaging things about others that are false is referred to as a ‘motzi sheim ra’, that is, one who spreads a bad name or reports. This person is considered the lowest of the low. It is believed that the results of his slander will return and destroy him, like a boomerang.

The Midrash says that the practice of chesed (goodness) is the stone upon which stands the Universe."