A newly released book by the Jewish Community of Portugal has shed light on the disturbing antisemitic past of incoming EU Council President António Costa.

The book, titled “The Plan! Jewish Life Threatened in Europe,” details Costa’s involvement in the persecution of Portugal’s Jewish community during his tenure as prime minister. Costa played a key role in the repeal of Portugal’s 2015 Nationality Law, also known as the Sephardic Law, which granted citizenship to descendants of Jews forced to leave the country in the 15th century.

Under his orders, Minister of Foreign Affairs Augusto Santos Silva actively worked to revoke the law due to the “Palestinian cause,” even stooping to compare the increase in Sephardic Jews applying for citizenship to the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, Costa’s government orchestrated an antisemitic media campaign, employing journalists and social media influencers to undermine the Nationality law and target Portugal’s Jewish community.

At the time, Minister of Justice Francisca Van Dunen was authorized to abused her position by initiating baseless investigations against Jewish institutions. These antisemitic claims led to multiple bomb threats against the country’s largest synagogue and Holocaust museum, as well as demonstrations by thousands of people against Portugal’s “Jewish landlords.”

“We think it is important to make the story of those who are about to take on a significant role in the European Union known to the general public,” said President of Portugal’s Jewish community Gabriel Senderowicz.

“The European Union has a plan to help promote Jewish life over the coming years. However, this could be threatened by the appointment of a man who has a history of animosity towards Jews, the law, and the Jewish community and tried to shrink and attack it in his home country during his tenure as prime minister.”

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