April 11, 2019 — Lisbon, Portugal
An American Jewish Committee (AJC) New York Region delegation has met with Portugal President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa. The meeting yesterday at Palácio de Belém came during a six-day visit to Portugal that included meetings with several top government officials and visits with the Jewish community.
“We must pay attention and act against antisemitism. We need more education, knowledge, and the teaching of history to prevent dangerous fads from deepening and becoming normalized,” President Rebelo de Sousa told the 20-member AJC delegation. The president indicated interest in Portugal adopting the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) working definition of Antisemitism.
Other issues discussed with the president included U.S.-Portugal relations, Portugal-Israel ties, and Portugal’s long and rich Jewish history. The Jewish Museum of Lisbon is slated to open in 2020.
The AJC delegation met with Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Teresa Ribeiro; several members of Portugal’s Parliament, including Joao Rebelo, president of the Israel-Portugal Friendship Caucus; and with Lisbon Mayor Fernando Medina, who signed AJC’s Mayor United Against Antisemitism statement in 2015.
The delegation is led by AJC New York Region President Craig Unterberg and Director Michael Schmidt. Dina Siegal Vann, Director AJC’s Belfer Institute for Latino and Latin American Affairs (BILLA), Simone Rodan, Director of AJC Europe, and leaders of the Portugal and Brazil Jewish communities have participated in the meetings. The Comunidade Israelita de Lisboa (CIL) is an AJC international partner.
The AJC New York Region is celebrating its 75th anniversary.