Friday, March 11, 2016

Portugal: Identified as the enemy, or, why there are so few Jews in Portugal

German contemporary engraving depicting the 1506 massacre in Lisbon.

Richard Zimler:
At present, only a few hundred Jews live in Portugal, with small communities in Lisbon, Porto and a little town in the northeast mountains, Belmonte. In the 15th Century, however, tens of thousands of Jews made their homes there, and they constituted a significant minority in even the most isolated cities and towns.    What happened to them?

Portugal’s Jewish communities were destroyed during a unique period in the nation’s history that begins in the year 1492 and ends in 1536.

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Although Richard Zimler's article is about the past, it is relevant to the present because very few Jews live in Portugal and antisemitism is still very much alive.  By way of example, José Saramago, the 1998 recipient of Nobel prize winner, said of Jews:

"What is happening in Palestine is a crime we can put on the same plain as what happened at Auschwitz ... A sense of impunity characterises the Israeli people and its army. They have turned into rentiers of the Holocaust."

“Contaminated by the monstrous and rooted ‘certitude’ that in this catastrophic and absurd world there exists a people chosen by God … the Jews endlessly scratch their own wound to keep it bleeding, to make it incurable, and they show it to the world as if it were a banner."

"The Bible is a manual of bad morals (which) has a powerful influence on our culture and even our way of life. Without the Bible, we would be different, and probably better people." More here.

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