Last Thursday, the Moroccan Jewish community of some 2,000 members, in collaboration with the World Zionist Organization, held a prayer service, a holiday meal, and a musical performance in Marrakech to celebrate Israel’s Independence Day. At least one group didn’t like it. According to The New Arab, an organization calling itself the National Action Group for Palestine, on Monday held an “urgent” press conference to “shed light on the dangerous and unprecedented developments of the Zionist infiltration of the country,” and condemn Morocco’s “escalating normalization with Israel.”
On December 22, 2020, Morocco and Israel signed a joint declaration pledging to quickly begin direct flights, promote economic cooperation, reopen liaison offices, and move toward “full diplomatic, peaceful and friendly relations.”
Incidentally, before 1948, Morocco had a Jewish population of between 250,000 and 350,000, constituting about 10% of the overall population.
Several anti-Zionist activists took the stage at the press conference in the group’s headquarters in the capital Rabat and warned against Israel’s attempts to blur the lines between Judaism and Zionism – the old and familiar Neturei Karta line. Aziz Hanawi, Secretary-General of the National Action Group for Palestine, declared: “The Zionist agenda tries to convert what it is left of the Jewish community in Morocco to Zionism.”
Hanawi stressed that Jews in the Kingdom are Moroccan citizens and Israel should stop treating them as if they were its ex-patriots abroad.
A group of about 100 members of the Moroccan Jewish community sang Hebrew Israeli songs, blew a shofar, and sang Hatikvah on Independence Day. Neria Meir, head of WZO’s Department of Zionist Activities in the Diaspora, said the event was nothing less than “a miracle.”
Then-President Donald Trump announced the quid pro quo his son-in-law and envoy Jared Kushner had offered the Moroccan government in exchange for delivering this unexpected agreement with Israel: “The US recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over the entire Western Sahara territory and reaffirms its support for Morocco’s serious, credible and realistic autonomy proposal as the only basis for a just and lasting solution to the dispute over the Western Sahara territory,” Trump said.
On Sunday, the Moroccan National Action Group for Palestine hit the streets of Rabat to commemorate Nakba Day––the Arab inverse of Israel’s Day of Independence, marking the 1948 victory of some 600 thousand Jews over a million local Arab and the armies of seven invading Arab countries.