Jewish Community of Lisbon condemns antisemitic chants at pro-Palestinian protest

The Jewish Community of Lisbon (CIL) condemned the protest by pro-Palestinian activists outside the Cinema São Jorge in Lisbon, accusing the participants of “offensive, antisemitic chants, explicitly against the existence of the State of Israel”.

In a statement, the association accused the protesters, who gathered today at the entrances to Cinema São Jorge, where celebrations for the 76th anniversary of the founding of the State of Israel are taking place, of proclaiming “insulting and radical chants”.

“Alongside these chants (…) the protesters tried to intimidate those entering the cinema to peacefully participate in a ceremonial, symbolic event commemorating a crucial milestone for the people who survived the Holocaust: the creation of a country they have been able to call their own for 76 years,” the CIL highlighted.

This community pointed out that the protest participants collected images of those entering so that they could later, as was done this year on social media using images from last year, display and “denounce” the faces of individuals present at the event.

They also accused the protesters of “throwing eggs and paint,” noting that they “hit, among others, members of the Jewish Community of Lisbon, full Portuguese citizens.”

“These actions deserve vehement repudiation and unequivocal condemnation,” emphasised the CIL in a statement, where they thanked the “protection and dedicated action of the security forces.”

The community further condemned the “slogans such as ‘Palestine from the River to the Sea’ and ‘Palestine, it’s time for Israel to go’,” among “other aggressive and anti-Jewish chants,” accusing the protesters of advocating for “the outright elimination of the State of Israel” and “as a consequence, its inhabitants and its people.”

“This is an intolerant and dangerous discourse. Freedom of expression, a pillar so important to democracy, has been polluted by a discourse marked by primitive antisemitism. The freedom to protest was corrupted by acts of intolerance and gratuitous insult, but above all, unacceptable offences and physical aggressions,” it further noted.

The protest outside Cinema São Jorge, involving about two hundred pro-Palestinian activists, was organised by the Unified Platform for Solidarity with Palestine (PUSP) and has been monitored by a strong police contingent, initially the Rapid Intervention Team (EIR), and later, by the PSP Intervention Corps.

The entry of guests for the ceremony celebrating Israel’s “76 years of independence,” organised by the Israeli embassy in Lisbon, initially planned for the cinema’s main entrance, was redirected to the back of ‘São Jorge’, where some protesters still managed to throw paint bags, hitting some guests.

The decision to have guests enter through the back of the cinema was made by the police after dozens of protesters blocked the main entrance on Avenida da Liberdade.

Although some pro-Palestinian activists remain in front of the cinema, most have gathered in Largo Jean Monet, near the building, where they sat and continued to shout slogans against Israel.

Waving Palestinian flags and holding protest signs, the demonstrators shouted slogans such as “long live the struggle of the Palestinian people,” “76 years of theft and massacre,” “[Carlos] Moedas (Mayor of Lisbon) sponsors murderous propaganda,” or “Zionism is violence, Palestine is resistance,” along with references to 76 years of “occupation, apartheid, land theft, and genocide.”


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