The 5th Gaia International Art Biennial, which opened on April 8, has an anti-Semitic cartoon in its collection. The cartoon, by Onofre Varela, features Hitler with a swastika on his arm and a Star of David on his chest, and the following sentence: "Israel treats Palestinians with the same disrespect with which Hitler treated Jews"
The cartoon offends the 6 million Jews who died in the Holocaust and also the survivors of this terrible extermination and their descendants.
In a statement addressed to the Culture Councilor of the City Council of Gaia, Paula Cristina Martins Carvalhal, Alpi stated:
“Associação Lusa Portugueses por Israel draws the attention of Paula Martins Carvalhal to the cartoon by Onofre Varela that is on display at the Bienal de Gaia, this year dedicated to Africa. This cartoon is inappropriate and offends the millions of victims of the Shoah.
By being exposed, it links the Bienal and the Municipality of Gaia, which supports the Bienal, to a true insult to the victims of the Shoah, whose memory is now being celebrated, Yom HaShoá, the Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Israel is a democratic state that respects international law and whose foundation was approved by the General Assembly of the United Nations. We ask that this offensive poster be removed.”
Upon learning of the situation, the president of the Jewish Community of Porto, Gabriel Senderowicz, told the PJN: “It is regrettable that precisely on the Holocaust Remembrance Day we have to deal with a situation like this. This only reinforces the need to talk about what happened to the Jewish people and to educate future generations in tolerance”.
The Jewish Community of Oporto asked the Municipality of Gaia "the immediate removal of that cartoon, which demonstrates extreme left-wing ideological fanaticism and total ignorance of what the Holocaust was and of Israel's own history".