Paris, 10 September 2020 

In a letter to Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, Mats Malm, the Wiesenthal Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted that, “your October meeting will establish a checklist of candidates, for the 2020 prestigious Nobel Prize in Literature. Among them is bruited Portuguese author, António Lobo Antunes.”

The letter continued, “In 2005, Lobo was invited to Israel to receive the Jerusalem Prize for the Freedom of the Individual in Society. Back in Portugal, in October 2006, he was interviewed by Pública on his impressions of Israel as a Jewish State…” “That article can be read as a ferocious attack of contempt and disgust.”

Samuels argued that, “this was marked, reportedly, by what Lobo called ‘their omnipresent obsession with the Shoah’... The Wiesenthal Centre considers this language as Holocaust banalization – recognized as a form of antisemitism under the IHRA Definition (International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance).”

Lobo Antunes seems to have complained about the security check on arrival at Ben Gurion international airport... He felt “a permanent climate of fear” and that, “the State of Israel was created on hatred...” “They hate the Germans... The Holocaust always, always, always... They took me to the German quarter, I asked my guide ‘where are the Germans?’... He responded ‘we have thrown them all out!’...”

Lobo, apparently, continued, “I was shocked to learn that they never have sex with non-Jews...” “I was also shocked by the Saturday, when everything is deserted, and you cannot drive cars...” “I thought the Promised Land was beautiful, but it is made of stones and sand – all is yellow!”

The Pública interviewer asked: “Why did you not raise these feelings in Israel...?” His quoted response, “I thought it would be considered indelicate!... I was invited there, treated as a very important person.”

Samuels claimed that, “Lobo Antunes uses Jewish characters in several of his novels. Sadly he, apparently, had other feelings when facing some real Jews in the Jewish State. In the last fourteen years, he has not publicly retracted or seemed to express remorse or apology for his apparent antisemitism.”

The Centre called on the Permanent Secretary, “to bring these findings to the Swedish Academy meeting and to disqualify António Lobo Antunes’ candidacy for the Nobel Prize for Literature.”

“Lobo Antunes, as reported, would sully the Award, and the Prize could be viewed as a ‘Laureate for hate’”, concluded Samuels.