Saturday, 15 Aug 2020 - 25 of Av, 5780

Attempts in Portugal to curb a law granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews criticised by European Jewish group

Google+ Pinterest LinkedIn Tumblr +

An amendment to Portugal’s ‘’Law on Nationality’’ allows descendants of Portuguese Jews who were expelled during the Inquisition – the 15th-century campaign of anti-Semitic persecution – to become citizens if they ‘’belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal.’’

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor expressed concerns about voices in Portugal who are using problematic allegations regarding the ‘’commercialization’’ of the law during the debate.

Attempts by Portugal’s ruling Socialist Party to curb a law granting citizenship to descendants of Sephardic Jews, partly because the application process ‘’has turned into a business,’’ has been  criticised by a European Jewish group.

An amendment to Portugal’s ‘’Law on Nationality’’ allows descendants of Portuguese Jews who were expelled during the Inquisition – the 15th-century campaign of anti-Semitic persecution – to become citizens if they ‘’belong to a Sephardic community of Portuguese origin with ties to Portugal.’’

The Portuguese Socialist Party has submitted a draft amendment to the 2015 law that

proposes to limit any naturalization made from 2022 forward to those who have stayed legally in Portugal for at least two years.

The change drastically limits the ability of non-EU applicants to benefit from the law, which was open to anyone under its original wording and subsequent regulations.

About 50,000 people have applied and at least 10,000 applications have been reportedly approved.

Spain also had passed in 2015 a law of return for descendants of Sephardic Jews. It expired last year. Portugal’s law is open-ended and less demanding in that it does not require applicants to demonstrate knowledge of Portuguese or Spanish or attachment to Portuguese culture as stipulated in the Spanish law.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor has written to Portugal’s President of the Assembly of the Republic, Eduardo Ferro Rodrigues, urging him ”to amend the administrative flaws in the implementation of this historic law without losing sight of, or endangering, what is essential: the opening of a real, achievable path to citizenship of the Portuguese Republic to the descendants of persecuted Portuguese Sephardic Jews.”

“Portugal is rightly praised all over the world, by Jews and non-Jews alike, for this legislation. As a Jewish leader, I often hear about it and how it stands in stark contrast to the rising tide of antisemitism in Europe and beyond.” Kantor added.

He expressed concerns about voices in Portugal who are using problematic allegations regarding the ‘’commercialization’’ of the law during the debate. ‘’I call upon the Portuguese people not to fall into the trap of antisemitic stereotypes and old prejudices,” he said.

Share.

About Author

Leave A Reply