Mohamed V1: pays for upkeep of Jewish cemeteries
There are good reasons to believe that Morocco could be the next Arab land to make a formal peace agreement with the Jewish state. Its current king, Mohammed VI, ensured that the rights of Moroccan Jews (and other religious minorities) were safeguarded in the kingdom’s 2011 constitution. Jewish schools and synagogues operate freely. The king also personally pays for the upkeep of Jewish cemeteries, following the 1969 exodus of many Jews from Morocco, and publicly dines with Hollywood stars attending the Marrakech International Film Festival every year.
The king likes to point out that nearly one in five Israelis has a familial tie to his kingdom. Morocco, going back to the days of former King Hassan II, has called for peace and normalization of trade ties with Israel, following certain humanitarian guarantees for Palestinian Arabs. Finally, every nation after Egypt’s 1978 peace agreement with Israel (Jordan in 1994, UAE this past month and now Bahrain) is a monarchy; lands where leaders are less likely to face removal by taking unpopular stands such as making peace with Israel. Morocco is a moderate Arab nation, run by a constitutional monarch.
Yet a closer look at Morocco’s current elected leaders and the Western-funded non-governmental organizations that influence them reveals that Morocco will likely not follow its fellow Gulf Cooperation Council members into making a peace deal with Israel. Indeed, this shows the dangers that American and European donors face when they fund groups with lofty-sounding goals tied to radical, even anti-Semitic, views.
Consider the Moroccan Democratic Network for Solidarity with Peoples, a national symposium that was held on Sept. 2 in Rabat. The organizations brought together student, cultural and human-rights groups alongside political and union organizations to map out, in the words of its official statement, the “ways of solidarity with the Palestinian people, especially with regard to anti-normalization with the Zionist entity.”
The official declaration, signed by a large cross-section of Islamist and progressive organizations, reads like an anti-Israel screed from the 1970s. The participants signed their names to certain affirmations, including that “Zionism is a form of racism,” that the modern-day settlement of the land of Israel “constituted a crime against the Palestinian people,” and that any peace or normalization “aims to undermine the spirit of solidarity that inhabits the conscience of the peoples, especially the peoples of our Arab and Maghreb regions, and annihilate the historical balance of the national liberation and democracy movement in the region in an attempt to write off the Palestinian cause and subjugate these peoples and to extend imperial and Zionist hegemony over them by means of tyrannical reactionary regimes.”
It calls the UAE’s peace efforts “a treacherous step,” and demands that Morocco cease any efforts to normalize relations with Israel. It even faults the Moroccan government’s official recognition of “the Hebrew component of the Moroccan identity” contained in the kingdom’s constitution. Jews, as well as Berbers with a Jewish identity, have lived in Morocco for nearly 1,000 years. This rejection of a shared history of Jews and Muslims in Morocco is both sweeping and shocking.
Finally, the declaration demands an economic boycott of any government body or business that advocates for peace with Israel.