Portugal protests Israeli diplomat’s criticism of Hitler tribute

(JTA) — The Portuguese government complained about an Israeli ambassador’s criticism of Lisbon’s mourning in 1945 of Adolf Hitler’s death.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs instructed its ambassador to Israel to “transmit disapproval” to the Israeli authorities regarding remarks attributed to his Israeli counterpart, Ehud Gol, in October about “a stain” on Portugal’s record, Jornal de Negocios reported on Jan. 30.

Antonio de Oliveira Salazar, Portugal’s right-wing dictator from 1932 to 1968, declared three days of national mourning after Hitler’s death.

According to Publico, another newspaper, Gol said in October that “Portugal was the only country to lower its flag for three days” and that “for us Jews this is a stain that will forever be associated with Portugal.”

In November, five opposition Socialist lawmakers queried the ministry to ask whether it intended “to demand an apology” from Gol for his “offensive statements” and “abrasive tone.” 

Gol was summoned to the ministry in November, according to the ministry’s director general Paulo Porta, and officials “expressed the strongest possible disapproval of the declarations he disseminated,” the ministry wrote, according Jornal de Negocios.

Portugal was officially neutral during World War II. Eamon de Valera, the president of Ireland, which also maintained neutrality throughout the war, stirred controversy when he paid a condolence call to the German ambassador after Adolf Hitler’s death was reported.

Gol, who began his term in 2009, was previously summoned for a dressing down at the Portuguese foreign ministry in 2010 over his criticism of Portugal’s hosting of Manouchehr Mottaki, a former Iranian foreign minister. 

NEXT STORY