Sunday, June 14, 2009

'Algeria should restore citizenship to Jews'

Al-Arabiya reporter interviews Malia Bouzaid

It is 47 years since Algeria's Jewish community left en masse for France, but Algeria should 'learn from the experience of Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen' and give them back their citizenship, a human rights activist told Al-Arabiya recently. (Of course only those Jews loyal to Algeria - and certainly no Zionists - would be allowed back.) One wonders what planet this lady lives on, given that the last of Yemen's Jews are being driven out, but perhaps she understands that minority rights are the best guarantee of a healthy civil society: (with thanks: Heather)

A prominent Algerian human rights activist called on the government to acknowledge the rights of Jews of Algerian origin and said such people should be naturalized as she stressed there was a difference between being Jewish and being a Zionist.

Malia Bouzaid, a member of the Arab Commission for Human Rights, launched a campaign to grant Algerian Jews living abroad citizenship as she believed they were suffering greatly because they were deprived from returning to their homeland. Algerian Jews meet all the conditions to become citizens...Most of their fathers or grandfathers were born in Algeria. Many of them were born to Algerian mothers.

"Algerian Jews meet all the conditions to become citizens," Bouzaid told Al Arabiya. "Most of their fathers or grandfathers were born in Algeria. *Many of them were born to Algerian mothers."

Bouzaid said the Jewish issue was very sensitive in Algeria but argued that handling the issue realistically would play a major role in solving many of the problems Algeria has faced for decades.

"What I mean by 'realistically' is learning from the experience of other Arab countries like Tunisia, Morocco and Yemen in the way they preserved their Jewish communities and treated them as citizens," Bouzaid said, adding "'Realistically' also means knowing the difference between Jews and Israel."

Bouzaid stressed that the Jews she met in French cities like Paris, Lyon and Marseille pledged allegiance to Algeria rather than Israel and that given the choice they would love to resettle in Algeria.

When asked about French-Algerian relations, Bouzaid said that 25 percent of the decision makers in France were Jews of Algerian origin and that they have the ability to help their homeland if it were to acknowledge them.

"They might get back at Algeria for denying them citizenship by grabbing every opportunity to weaken it in front of the international community. But if Algeria recognizes them as citizens, they will work for its benefit," she said.

We have to differentiate between Jews who willingly left Algeria after the independence and their hands were not stained with Algerian blood and Jews who took part in killing Algerian people and they are many. ( A lie - ed)

The head of the Algerian National Commission against Zionism and Normalization rejected all calls for the unconditional naturalization of all Algerian Jews and said some of them pledge allegiance to other than Algeria.

"We have to differentiate between Jews who willingly left Algeria after the independence and their hands were not stained with Algerian blood and Jews who took part in killing Algerian people and they are many," Khaled bin Ismail told Al Arabiya.

Ismail cited the example of French-Algerian singer Enrico Macias who was born in the northeastern city of Constantine.

"He was a teacher during the day, but in his leisure time he put on the French military uniform and fought against his fellow Algerians," Ismail said, adding in 1956 Jews were asked to join the Algerian resistance fight against French occupation and none of them responded.

"Algeria does not bestow its citizenship on anyone. Those who want to apply for citizenship have to supply the necessary legal documents," he concluded.

Algerian Jews are those who settled in Algeria during the time of the Ottoman Empire through the French occupation that started in 1830. (A lie - the Algerian Jewish community predates Islam and the Arab conquest: ed)

Read article in full

* Nationality is passed on by the father


Victor said...

In his excellent book entitled "The Siege," author Conor Cruise O'Brien explains that Jews in North African & Middle Eastern countries had lived for centuries as "dhimmis" (second-class citizens) prior to European colonization (and yes, as Bataween points out, Jews lived in these parts of the world before the rise of Islam). But British & French colonization brought with it the European demand that Jews be given equal rights in Arab countries. So of course, North African & Middle Eastern Jews felt they owed more to the Europeans since it was because of them, not the Arabs, that they began enjoying greater freedoms. Whenever North African Arabs talk bitterly about their Jews "collaborating" with the European colonial powers, they should think about how Jews had been treated under Islamic rule.

Eliyahu m'Tsiyon said...

maybe this "human rights advocate" smokes some strange weeds. I know Algerian Jews in France and here in Israel and many Moroccan Jews here.
I don't believe anybody that I know wants to go back and live in Algeria or Morocco. Even supposing they were not fond of Israel, which most of them are, why would they want to go back to poor, violence-ridden countries that don't want them and where their legal status would --maybe-- be an improved form of dhimma?

sammish said...

Algeria is still under the grip of a military Junta of a soviet style one party rule system(FLN) and the militant islamists who a terrorising the population to get ride of the military Junta. The junta has been well known to carried out massacres in rural areas (where militants hides) and blame the act on insurgents. The islamist insurgents also carried out massacres of whole villages who do not comply to their demands. The islamists first actions in the early 1990's was to attack foreigns (nuns, foreign workers under contacts in industry and other service workers) because they were thought to be infidels... Given the track records of all these chaos and bitter massacres why on earth would the Jews would want to go in these hellish lands... They would be the first target... All this initiative of giving back the former jews their citizenship is a PR game....

What one would do with an Algerian citizenship? It might only allow you to stand in lines in major european consulates to request a visa entry to France, Spain, and all the other countries of the EU.... The days of Jewish Algeria are over....Let us not dream naively again of a return unless a drastic change in government, in culture, in religiosity, and in the very hearts and sould of the arab algerians... Short of these changes, all would be wishful thinking...

It reminds me of former prime minister Menachem Begin saying about threats that Jews endured during world Word II. He said:

Heather said...

I suspect it's pretense to link the issue of Jewish refugees with the "palestinian right of return."

I wonder on what level it's being orchestrated and coordinated, as several countries have now made this "suggestion". I question the timing.