JTA — A Portuguese politician suggested that Jewish financial domination has facilitated Israel’s success in vaccinating for COVID-19.
His tweet prompted an unusual repudiation several days later by the country’s second-largest party.
“The Jews, as they dominate the fiscal world, bought and have the vaccines they wanted,” Rodrigo Sousa e Castro, a local lawmaker from Lisbon, wrote. “It’s historical revenge of sorts. I won’t say anything else before the Zionist ‘bulldogs’ jump.”
Following protests over his remarks, including by the Israeli Embassy in Lisbon, Sousa e Castro deleted the tweet and said it was “offensive.”
“Como orgulhoso bulldog sionista posso prometer que se Israel desenvolver uma cura para a COVID-19, o Coronel Sousa e Castro terá acesso a ela caso precise. pic.twitter.com/JREVVBewsG
— Israel em Portugal (@IsraelinPT) February 7, 2021
But Sousa e Castro, a spokesperson for the military officers who in 1974 ended the dictatorship of António de Oliveira Salazar, later posted on Twitter that the original tweet actually spoke about “Zionism and its crimes in Palestine” that upset “Zio-Nazis.” He also posted a photo of himself shaking hands with the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
— rodrigo sousa castro (@1963Cor) February 11, 2021
On Wednesday, the Social Democratic Party, which was established in 1974 by key revolution figures, tabled a draft resolution in parliament that said “Portugal is seeing the propagation of anti-Semitic discourse with serious insinuations.” To be an advocate of the 1974 revolution, it added, “means to honor its values.”
Portugal, a country with 10 million residents, has about 3,000 Jews and anti-Semitic incidents there are extremely rare, as are resolutions in parliament condemning anti-Semitism.