Reply to Colonel Rodrigo Sousa Castro | opinion

In response to my article “Is there anti-Semitism in Portugal?” Published in this newspaper on the 11th of this month, retired Colonel Rodrigo Sousa e Castro wonders at length about the motivations that led me to write this Article that finally concludes that it is some kind of “accusatory slander” of the “Holy Inquisition” type against his person, “which seriously offends my character and makes a blank slate of lifelong service”.

This time it would be my turn to be angry about the colonel’s allegations. But they don’t offend me because they don’t hit me. I would rather patiently explain to you that the answer to your questions does not lie in obscure motives on my part, but only in your own words, which reach Jews in general and the “Nazi Zionists” also in a generic way. Personally, I congratulate you for portraying yourself, but this time I wonder: And the thought that spawned the tweet was also deleted?

I also want to make it clear that I have not questioned or questioned your past as a fighter against dictatorship and for freedom. What I said is exactly the opposite: this very past gives you responsibility for the present and makes your words more serious. Contrary to what you’d like to believe, like decorations, anyone’s past doesn’t make them immune and sacrosanct for eternity. They are an acknowledgment of the past and not a guarantee for the future. It depends on what we do with it.

Yes, Sir Colonel, I too fought against dictatorship and freedom in my very humble way and with frequent mistakes on the street. But you don’t know that and you don’t need to know

The colonel prefers to go the other way: to question my moral authority because he has never seen me “denounce during the dictatorship the marginalization to which Aristides de Sousa Mendes was elected”.

I couldn’t help but read this with a smile. Not only was I not born around the time Sousa Mendes returned to his homeland and he was a child when he died, but throughout my adult life I have defended his memory, as well as that of the other Portuguese “righteous” who saved those who were persecuted by National Socialism. And yes, Colonel, I too fought against dictatorship and freedom by mistake in my very humble way and often in the street. But you don’t know that and you don’t need to know.

Finally, I will answer one more allegation. That does not “regret the injustices of the current Israeli leaders against the Palestinian people”. Again you are wrong. I am Portuguese, a Jew and a Zionist. I defend the existence of the State of Israel and I disagree with its government’s policies, and this is not the first time I have said or written them publicly. But I will never acknowledge the authority or qualification of anyone who allows himself to use the term “Nazi Zionist”. It simply shows the ignorance of Nazism and the hatred caused by total ideological blindness.